Bristol, Tennessee, is a town best known today for its motor speedway. But, historically, its real claim to fame is as the birthplace of modern Country music. For it was there that Ralph Peer first recorded The Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers - creating what is today known as the “Big-Bang” of Country music. Charlie Allen was born there into a family steeped in Country music. Allen’s mother, Louise Bouton was a regular on WCYB radio’s “Fun and Farm Time,” and she is a member of the Bristol Hall of Fame. His father, Charles D. Bouton, was an artist manager.
Singing and performing was the family business, and Allen and his brothers, William and Robert, learned from the best. Just as some mothers give their child a toy to play with, Allen’s mom gave him a broom, and taught him to pretend that it was a microphone. Eventually, he would learn to play the guitar, piano, steel guitar and drums. When most of his friends were getting on a school bus, Allen was getting on a tour bus.
Allen’s uncle, Jim Harless, was also in the music business in Ft. Worth, Texas. It was there, at age seven, that Allen began to hone his skills as a singer and performer with his family at the legendary Panther Hall. The stage was his classroom, and his teachers were the pillars of Country music; Loretta Lynn, Hank Williams, Jr., Waylon Jennings and Jerry Lee Lewis are just a few of the touring performers that Allen fronted for, and worked with. It was during this time that Allen signed his first recording contract with Decca Records.
By age fifteen, Allen was fronting his own group, The Bouton Brothers. They appeared on various television shows in the Bristol and Kingsport area, opening for the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Charley Pride and others. He also hosted his own television show, sponsored by Martha White.
Later on, Allen was signed to Parc Records, an independent label and publishing company with offices in Orlando, Florida, and Nashville. Parc, and their affiliate, Parc Studios, boasted a stellar list of clients such as The Backstreet Boys, ‘N Snyc, Britney Spears and Mariah Carey, among others. Commuting between Nashville and Orlando, Allen wrote and recorded many songs, including “Better Said Than Done,” co-written with Earl Thomas Conley. That song garnered Allen his first critical acclaim from Music Row’s toughest critic, Robert K. Oermann, who has been an ardent supporter of Allen ever since. He also made fans of the nationally syndicated radio show hosts, John Boy and Billy, who had this to say: “We believe that Charlie is destined for stardom. He has a heart as big as Tennessee and a voice to match it.”
Allen’s latest CD, That Was Then, This Is Now, is slated for release on June 17, 2008. His current single, “See If I Care” is presently climbing the charts.
In a recent interview, Allen summed his career up: “When you write a song – especially when you have a ‘hook’ that speaks to people’s hearts, well, that’s the thing that keeps you going.” It is this real, and genuine down-to-earth attitude, coupled with a phenomenal talent that will keep Charlie Allen’s voice on the radio for a long time to come.
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