MP3 Jim Allen - Wild Card
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13 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Americana, ROCK: Roots Rock
How does a native of the Bronx, New York get mixed up in blues and country music? Why would a right-handed man play guitar left-handed, upside-down with five strings, in a self-invented tuning? Exactly what does Charles Baudelaire have to do with Merle Haggard? These questions can only be answered by listening to the music of Jim Allen. As represented by his three albums, Allen's music is like the bastard offspring of Leonard Cohen and Johnny Cash. He combines American roots music (country, R&B, soul, Tex-Mex, etc.) with dark, poetic imagery leavened by just the right touch of self-deprecating humor. His rich baritone moves with authority through sympathetic tales of characters caught in the dark underside of the American dream, rendered in lyrics equally influenced by the symbolism of 19th-Century French poets and by the blue-collar prose of Merle Haggard and Charles Bukowski. Backed by the Jim Allen Incident, which includes his wife Barbara on drums, guitar wizard Robert ("Frenchy") Sorkin, and bassist Pemberton Roach, Allen retains a distinctive, quirky style in both his singing and his guitar playing.
Allen kicked around the New York City singer/songwriter scene as a solo performer for much of the '90s, along with peers like Richard Shindell, Richard Julian (who co-produced Jim's first two albums), and the late Jeff Buckley. His first album, 1996's WEEPER'S STOMP, is a stark, bluesy, mostly acoustic effort. Shortly after its release, Allen started working with a band, and consequently, the follow-up STRAIGHT TIME was a more electrified, up-tempo, rhythm-based outing. His latest, WILD CARD, both amplifies the country/Americana feel and intensifies the sometimes sardonic lyrical attack.
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