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Jon Allen

Deep River


Absolute via Universal

There’s a brand of music pretty much spearheaded by Jon Allen that you might dub Anglicana…I say that tongue in cheek as I don’t care for labelling. But it embraces acoustic and folk elements, blues, early rock’n’roll, Celtic – especially as regards the major-scale melodies – and even music hall and jazz. Allen has an upper-range bluesman’s voice and often phrasing but don’t buy this expecting the obvious numbers. He writes his own stuff, veers towards the stripped down as he is often performing solo with guitar and rack harp BUT even some of his latest songs sound as though they have been around for ever. If that or they evoke maybe ‘Gasoline Alley’–era Rod Stewart, or dear Ronnie Lane, Allen wouldn’t be offended. Although in conversation last week I did tell him that if anyone, I heard traces of Nils Lofgren ( ‘Take You To The Movies’) or closer Jesse Barish the SF pal of Marty Balin and the Airplane, Barish having a romantic timbre of worn velvet. He doesn’t know Barish.

Radio loves this man, much as they love Rafferty and Rea. Your girlfriend will steal this album from you if she doesn’t buy it herself, rest assured.

On this outing, the songs range from the plaintive ’Night & Day’ and relaxed Dylanish ‘Deep River‘, to the obvious set-starter ‘All The Money’s Gone’ and Little Feat-funk trip of ‘Get What’s Mine’.  The European melody and dark lyric of ‘Falling Back’ suggests a future single ( if Jon listens to me ha ). Overall it’s a heady and beautiful mix of electric and acoustic guitar music all carried by Allen’s classy but homespun vocals and blues lovers will surely fall for the airy ‘Hummingbird Blues’

Pete Sargeant        www.fairhearing.co.uk

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