If you didn’t know Quinn Deveaux was from San Francisco (which he is), you might guess the retro-flavored songwriter hailed from The Big Easy. Track one off Late Night Drive — the first of two records the popular Bay Area musician is releasing this November — is “Bff,” a New Orleans-style piano tune recalling the legendary musician Allen Toussaint’s slow-rollin’ and gin-soaked simplicity.
But despite the French last name and a penchant for the sounds of boogie-woogie and juke joints, Deveaux has no connection to Louisiana. “My great-great grandfather was French and settled in the Bahamian Islands,” Deveaux says, explaining his links to the region are via the music it bred. “My favorite decade of music is the ’50s when soul and blues and gospel and rock ‘n’ roll were all blended together and exploding.” He continues, “I wouldn’t say our sound is throwback. I am certainly writing songs today.”
Songs like “Changes,” also from Late Night Drive: a breezy and light contemporary pop-blues tune that would fit well with the likes of Keb’ Mo’. “But when I try and conjure the most useful changes or ideas,” Deveaux adds, “I pull from what I love which is stuff from the ’50s.” The ’50s inspiration is particularly apparent with Originals — the second of Deveaux’s 2013 releases, this time with his band The Blue Beat Review. Originals track “Lil 45” is reminiscent of Bo Diddley, and overall a pulsing Chicago blues backbeat informs the record.
If Late Night Drive is the nightcap, Originals is for earlier when the buzz is still fresh and everyone has their boogie wingtip shoes on.
Quinn Deveaux and The Blue Beat Review play 8:30 pm Friday, Nov. 8, at Axe & Fiddle in Cottage Grove; $10.