Martin Devaney has always embraced his local identity, literally dubbed the Mayor of St. Paul by friends and compatriots in the music scene. A classically trained musician with a jazz sax background, the accomplished singer-songwriter got his start playing with revered hip-hop ensemble Heiruspecs before embarking on a solo career. After self-releasing an EP in 2001, Martin followed with four full-length albums, each garnering more praise and attention from press and fans. Described as “a charming, bushy haired, sweet voiced tunesmith” by No Depression, Martin became quickly known for his poetic, yet unpretentious songs and inspired live performances.
The West End, another project with Mark Stockert and Underwood Studios, features an all-star cast of musicians Dave Boquist (Son Volt), Steve Murray (Molly Maher and Her Disbelievers) and Mick Wirtz (Bellwether). It also highlights the long-time collaboration with Jake Hyer (vocals, violin, mandolins). Harmonies with Hyer provide the bread and butter to Devaney’s artful, sincere songs, and obviously guided much of The West End’s creative energy. In addition to his own band, Devaney plays sax with Twin Cities’ indie-folk darlings Roma Di Luna, recently mentioned in Rolling Stone, and heads the local rock band Crossing Guards. In the past decade, Martin Devaney has shared the state with and impressive list of national acts, including Andrew Bird, Mason Jennings, The Jayhawks, Semisonic, Soul Asylum, Billy Bragg, Evan Dando, Mary Lou Lord, Robbie Fulks, Dan Bern, Ike Reilly, Damien Jurado, Rhett Miller, Mike Doughty, Mary Lou Lord, The Roots, Southern Culture on the Skids, and Richard Buckner.