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Debra Devi, Language of the Blues Talk and Band

February 1, 2020 @ 8:00 pm

Photo by Capacity Images

Preservation New Jersey welcomes rock musician Debra Devi, performing with her band and also giving her popular TEDx talk based on her book The Language of the Blues: From Alcorub to Zuzu (foreword by Dr. John).

Debra Devi believes in a woman’s right to rock.

Debra Devi is a supersonic fret-burner who writes hauntingly memorable songs, blending the cleverness and intricacy of a good jam band with the catchiness of vintage power pop. — JamBase

Devi leads a ferocious guitar-driven band equally adept at sprawling psychedelic jams and terse, soulful rockers. — New York Music Daily

Debra Devi’s growing acclaim as one of the most remarkable guitarists on the East Coast. (Good Times) has led to recording with Gov’t Mule bassist Jorgen Carlsson, opening slots for artists like Ana Popovic and Marshall Crenshaw, and festival dates from Memphis to Montana. Devi is the first female guitarist to endorse Homestead Amplifiers, which builds custom amps for Gov’t Mule, Gary Clark Jr. and Jimmy Herring. She is also a Fender artist.

Devi references the ‘60s and early ‘70s with an understated retro vibe, notes Hardrock Haven, but instead of sounding dated, her sound comes across as timeless. Music videos from her Wild Little Girl EP have premiered on The Alternate Root, American Blues Scene, Guitar Girl and The Pop Break.

Debra Devi fell in love with electric guitar as a girl, listening to her teenage neighbor play Led Zeppelin while he worked on his car, and her brother’s rock albums. “I always sang the guitar solos, instead of the lyrics,” Devi says. Growing up in that Milwaukee suburb, though, she got the message that only boys played in bands.

When she saw Bonnie Raitt perform in college, Devi couldn’t stifle her longing to play anymore. She bought a Fender Mustang at a pawnshop and moved to NYC. There, Devi joined punk bands, touring the US, Canada and Europe.

When Devi began to develop as a solo artist, though, she found herself creating a classic rock-meets-Americana sound and discovering her love of guitar solos. Devi’s self-produced debut, Get Free (True Nature Records/Redeye), received raves from Vintage Guitar, Jambase, Marie Claire (Italy), Guitar International and more for her soulful voice and powerful guitar playing.The album was inspired by Devi’s late friend, Zen Guitar author Phil Sudo.

Devi became a Fender artist, and the first female guitarist to record for Guitar World’s “Lick of the Day” app. She played festivals and club dates from Memphis to Montana.

After helping her nephew through a life-threatening health crisis, Devi returned to the studio to produce her new Wild Little Girl EP. “Wild LIttle Girl reflects my desire to encourage girls and women to be creative and free, and fulfill their potential,” Devi says.

Devi is also the author of the popular blues glossary The Language of the Blues: From Alcorub to Zuzu (foreword by Dr. John), which won the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for outstanding book on music. The book is blurbed by Bonnie Raitt, Joe Bonamassa, Hal Willner, Ministry singer Al Jourgensen, Ed Sanders, Bob Margolin and Jimmy Vivino.

Devi has given her popular “Language of the Blues” talk at TedX Jersey City, A. Schwab in Memphis, Jersey City Theater Center, Luna Stage in South Orange NJ and other venues. She is interviewed about blues lingo in the films America’s Blues and Mr. Handy’s Blues, and by USA Today, NPR All Things Considered and BluesMobile.

A yoga practitioner, Devi’s favorite mantra is lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu, “may all beings everywhere be happy and free.”

Wheelchair accessibleThe 1867 Sanctuary Arts and Culture Center is wheelchair-accessible through a wheelchair ramp through the gate on the left side of the building. All parking is across the street in the Ewing Presbyterian Church lots, including an inner ring across the street for disabled parking. Passengers may be dropped off at the curb directly in front of the main entrance; please use your hazard flashers when stopped there. Concert parking is recommended in the north lot (by the field closest to I-295). For your safety, please cross at the marked crosswalk and press the yellow button to activate flashers.

To Purchase Tickets

  • $20 for General Admission
  • $15 for Friends of the Sanctuary
  • $5 for School and College students with ID
  • $15 per person for Groups of 10 or more**

Tickets can be purchased online or reserved at the box office for payment by cash, check or credit card by calling 609-392-6409 or emailing 1867sanctuary@preservationnj.org. Tickets may also be purchased at the door as space allows. (Sorry – we don’t mail tickets. Tickets will be held at the box office and a receipt will be emailed from PayPal if purchased online.)

**GROUP RATES (10 or more people). Group rates apply only to advance online sales and must be purchased in quantities of 10 or more within a single purchase. Group rate tickets cannot be purchased at the box office prior to the concert.

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Group, School or other info:

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Become a Friend of the Sanctuary and Save $5 per Ticket!

For only $30.00 per year ($50.00 for families), members of the Friends of the 1867 Sanctuary receive  $5 off our General Admission concert tickets for the rest of 2019 and ALL of 2020!


February 1, 2020
8:00 pm
Event Category:


1867 Sanctuary at Ewing
101 Scotch Road + Google Map