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Phoenix R&B Stud Stan Devereaux Says Young Folks Are Getting Hip to Soul Sounds

Singer Stan Devereaux has been playing R&B and soul in Arizona since the 1960s, growing up in Tucson before exploring the Phoenix soul scene after college, then departing for Europe, South America, and Georgia. His journey led him back to Phoenix, and since he's settled into a groove here in town with his band the Funky Suns, he's noticed something about his crowds: They're young.

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"These are all new people, just getting in touch with me now," he says with a chuckle. "It's a younger crowd, and they're starting to get hip. They're getting hipper. [Younger people are] getting into the Otis Redding-type stuff; stuff they need to get into."

Indeed, Devereaux sound, with hints of jazz, country, and "chitlin' circuit" R&B, is easy for new fans to latch on to. The guitars blaze, the drums bounce, and Devereaux himself is a dynamite frontman. Just check out Up on the Sun's exclusive video of Stan and Co. pumping out a doubleheader cover of Marvin Gaye's "Got to Give it Up" and Dyke and The Blazers' "Funky Broadway."

Devereaux says that Arizona soul has a distinct blend of styles, featuring lots of country vibe ("I grew up listening to country," he laughs) and plenty of rock influence. It's one of the reasons the Funky Suns can slide into rock 'n' roll lineups and one of the reasons Devereaux doesn't mind sharing the stage with young indie rock bands.

While he's humble about it, he knows he can keep up with just about any of them. He's on a mission too, to share his soul sounds with young, appreciative audiences.

"I think the emotion of it [connects with audiences], I really do believe," he says. "The emotion -- the sounds also, of course -- but the emotion that the singers sing with, I don't hear sometimes nowadays from the singers."

Stan Devereux and the Funky Suns are scheduled to perform at Carnaval Eléctrico at Crescent Ballroom on Friday, March 8.

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Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.