Devonsquare has spearheaded northern New England's contemporary folk music for more than two decades. Dubbed the "original folk and roll band" by occasional songwriter/collaborator Rex Fowler of Aztec Two-Step, the Portland, ME-based trio continues to successfully set warm, three-way harmonies to infectious, hook-laden, acoustic-based arrangements.
Devonsquare has undergone an enormous evolution since its inception in 1979. A Kingston Trio-influenced folk group, the original Devon Square Trio featured tenor singer/band manager/attorney Herb Ludwig, Jeff Rice, and Steve Romanoff. A choir singer as a child, Ludwig had sung with the Romanoff brothers in Schooner Fare.
A turning point in Devonsquare's history came in the early '80s, when Ludwig was joined by his partners of the past two decades, Alana MacDonald and Tom Deal. A classically trained violinist, MacDonald has simultaneously performed with the Portland Symphony Orchestra, while Deal, who previously played with Ludwig in a six-piece rock version of the group, is a self-taught guitarist.
Sharpening their pop-minded sound with the self-produced albums Devonsquare in 1984 and Night Sail in 1985, they signed with Atlantic in 1988. Walking on Ice, their first album for the label, included a Top 20 title track. Their second outing, Bye Bye Route 66, released in 1992, yielded the more rocking singles "If You Could See Me Now" and the title tune and featured such guests as Stephen Stills and bassist Anthony Jackson. The album's success brought them heightened visibility. Despite having been together for nearly a decade, at that point they were nominated for a Boston Music Award as Best New Act. Although their contract with Atlantic was not renewed, Devonsquare has continued to work together. Their fifth album, Industrial Twilight, inspired by Jack Kerouac and the beat generation, was released on Ludwig's own label, Dev, in 1996. Ludwig released his first solo album, Your Own Backyard, three years later. ~ Craig Harris