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Charlie Allen - That Was Then This Is Now
Review By: George Peden, CSO Staff Journalist
7/6/08

He's more Tritt than Strait, more McGraw than Jackson, and more Otto than Keith. But more than a casual and easy pigeon-slot comparison, newcomer Charlie Allen is exciting and authentic. In essence: he is his own brand.

Allen is a charge-ahead, blue collar, hard-rocker who has delivered a gritty countrified album with his That Was Then This Is Now. Recently released, the album is out on River Run Records. Showing a talent beyond just singing, which he does with maturity and passion, Allen, who started his career at seven with local events, has contributed 10 co-writes.

The first cut is the God-centred "Can't Take Him Out Of Me". Allen, richly blessed with a made-for-country twang, tells you can take God out of everything, but you can't take him out of this believer. Written with Brian White and Steve Dean, the tune rocks along with it's assured message that times and circumstances change, but a saving faith is a constant source of comfort.

"I Did This To Me" stumbles from the righteous path of the first tune, to disclose that too much hard living, with its varied excesses, spells trouble with a capital T.

"Why Ask Why" and "See If I Care" are solid country fare, while "Everything But Me" is a tune with radio in mind. The song, with its melodic sadness of leavin' without looking back, comes handled with strong and sensitive vocal emotion from Allen, making it one of the standout tunes.  Listen out also for "Proof" -- a hard-edged rocker that tells it like we know it to be -- drunks don't lie; the truth, or in this, the proof, comes out loud and clear when the whiskey starts talking.

Charlie Allen comes to our notice with the envied distinction of being one 0f 2007's most played on radio indie artists.  With an album of blended country, a host of A-grade musicos pumpin' the sound, and a string of songs that marry well with anything around, this Tennessean, who now calls Nashville home, is a CSO watch and wait prediction.


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