For tenured singer-songwriter Kevin Devine, honesty has always been the best policy.
Whether it's onstage, on any of his six solo releases or with his fans, he's made a 10-year music career by staying true to himself and hoping people respect it.
"I definitely, probably almost to my own detriment, almost never write for what I think other people are going to like," Devine said. "I'd probably be at a different place in my career if I did, but I don't really know how to. ... It seems like the relationship I have with people who like my music is that if I do that in an honest way, even if they don't like every single choice I make, they respect them and seem to follow along at least so far as if they don't feel like I'm leading them off a cliff."
Singer-songwriter Kevin?Devine has been playing music for 10 years and has released six solo albums. He and his band will headline a show Friday at the Altoona Masonic Temple.
Devine certainly hopes to pick up some new fans to follow where he's going when he and his band perform at 6 p.m. Friday at The Altoona Masonic Temple, 600 Jackson Ave., Altoona. Openers include The Front Bottoms, Run, Forever, Godfrey Lane and Colleen Cassarly.
Devine played in Altoona almost a year ago to the day, and said the local music scene reminds him of the one he grew up in on Staten Island, N.Y..
"That was a really unexpectedly great show," he said. "I had no idea what we were going to get in Altoona, and it was really good."
If you go
What: Kevin Devine with The Front Bottoms, Run, Forever, Godfrey Lane and Colleen Cassarly
When: 6 p.m. Friday
Where: The Altoona Masonic Temple, 600 Jackson Ave., Altoona
Details: Tickets are $10
This year, Devine brings with him the songs from his newest album, "Between the Concrete & Clouds," which was released in September. It is the follow-up to his highly-acclaimed "Brother's Blood," which features sprawling, story-like songwriting and atypical song structures.
But Devine said he tried to write more concise, structured pop songs for "Between the Concrete & Clouds."
"Bands like Nada Surf that have this kind of pop sensibility, but still have a lyrical depth and there's still an exploratory quality to the songs that they write, that's what I was trying to do," he said. "It was trying to find something that was communicative in three and six-word bursts instead of 30 or 40-word bursts and cutting out a lot of the florid, descriptive stuff and just getting to the meat of something, but also having it be kind of abstract and not like a diary entry or something, more like a dream."
Switching up his style may have gotten
a mixed reaction from fans and critics, but Devine said he'd rather make an honest record in accordance with his own opinion and growth, instead of the opinions of the public or the press.
"I want to have a life in music," he said. "I want that to be my life's work. I don't want to be concerned with what's trending or if I should make a rock record or a folk record or put electronic aspects on the record because those are the things that people like."
Ryan Wapner, founder and promoter of AnEmergencyScene, which is putting on the show, said he grew up watching Devine play in the area and really likes the new album.
"The song '11-17' is unbelievable," Wapner said. "I found a YouTube video of him playing it in the studio, and I remember hitting the replay button all day."
Since Devine has been touring less over the past few years, Wapner said it should make shows like the one on Friday "more of a special thing."
Devine said he doesn't really know what people like about seeing him play live, but that the new material has made "a lot more sense" to people after they've seen the songs performed live.
"It seems like people connect to the feeling that they're being given something honest when they come see me at shows," Devine said. "I don't think they feel like they're being put on when they come see me play, and that's an honor because that's the kind of music I respond most well to, too.
"I mean, people might come because they think I have cool hair, I don't know. But it seems like the music means something to them in a way that I feel really lucky to have that kind of connection."
Mirror Staff Writer Beth Ann Downey is at 946-7520.