Matthew Lickona 11:49 p.m., Dec. 10
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Based in Carmel Valley, singer/songwriter Ian Allen was born in Zimbabwe and grew up in South Africa, where he was already writing political themed music and protesting apartheid. One of his songs, “Far Country,” was banned on local radio for its political leanings.
Allen first achieved widespread notice in the early 1990s with Rhythm Method. According to Allen, “The band had a record label deal on the table with Mitch Brodie, who at the time was an A&R guy with Elektra Records and our managers Bill Gladstone and Jon Hornyak, then owner of the legendary Sun studios. But I walked away from it all for awhile, and am now slowly getting back and doing it on my terms.”
Allen usually performs solo accompanying himself on guitar, as well as recording with longtime friend and music collaborator Brad Nel, who came over from Africa to help record in Allen’s garage. “I guess we were a two-car garage band!”
Rhythmically, Allen’s music is influenced by the polyrhythms prevalent in African music, combined with catchy melodies and hooks. “Lyrically,” he says, “the subject matter is far removed from the typical and the use of word play and easy to remember, albeit thought-provoking, lyrics that also capture the imagination and attention of the listener.”
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