Allen’s first album, Raised on Gettin’ By, is his first full length studio recording. Allen wrote or co-wrote eight of the 11 songs for the project making it an extremely personal reflection of the man himself. The title track, “Raised on Gettin’ By,” is Allen’s personal favorite because of its message of working hard to earn the things you have. “That song, I think, tells more of my story than any other song on the album,” says Allen. However, he is quick to point out that the entire album hits close to home and unfolds as a collection of stories and memories from his own life. Allen recorded the classic Tom T. Hall song, “Me & Jesus,” as a tribute to his late grandfather, Virgil Porter. “I remember waking up at my grandparents’ house to the smell of breakfast and the sound of my grandfather singing that song. It still brings tears to my eyes,” says Allen. “I’m so proud of this record and I really love singing every song on it.”
Allen has been rigorously promoting Raised on Gettin’ By through a series of live shows in Texas as well as numerous college campuses across the United States. In 2007, Allen toured with Emerson Drive for a string of dates across the country and opened for country music superstar Reba McEntire. There was an audience of 30,000 at the show, making it Allen’s largest audience so far. Also, in his career he has opened for various legendary performers such as Randy Travis, Vince Gill, Little Big Town, and Big and Rich. “It’s been so surreal to get up on the stage before people I grew up watching and admiring,” says Allen.
Born and raised in a musical family in Canton, TX, Allen is the epitome of the down-home country boy. Allen grew up around music and began to love it from a young age. As a child, he spent his summers on his grandparents’ farm in Wills Point, Texas, listening to his grandmother play hymns on the piano at church and spending time outdoors hunting, fishing, and four-wheeling. At the age of 15, Allen found his aunt’s guitar in the attic and began teaching himself chords to accompany himself whenever he wanted to sing.
One year later, Allen had his first chance to perform for the public. “It was in my hometown at Octoberfest on the square downtown. My friends mom, who knew I played the guitar and sang, talked me into getting up and singing Jailhouse Rock,” says Allen. Though it was a nerve racking experience for the teenager, he eventually realized he wanted to play music for a living. “At first, I had a huge case of stage fright, but with encouragement and support from my family and friends, I kept playing, eventually overcoming it,” says Allen. “Now my nerves are calm and I’m excited before I go on stage.” Allen’s first paying gig was a performance at the Johnnie High Country Music Revue in Arlington, Texas. “I think I made $25 to sing two songs, but it was worth it.”
Allen has come a long way from his humble beginnings to achieving respect as both an artist and a songwriter. He manages to stay modest about his success thus far and is determined to have staying power. “In ten years, I’d love to still be on tour full-time and have few songs on the radio,” says Allen. “I just want to make a living writing and playing the music I love.”
Edited by immisterlunch on 29 Feb 2012, 13:27
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