Release Parties

JAY ALLEN

‘Des Moines' Album Release Party

Monday June 24, 2024

@ Ole Red in Nashville, TN

(Review Written By: Jeffrey Kurtis)

Since making impact with “Blank Stares” in 2017, Jay Allen has therapeutically walked us through song alongside his internal struggles of caring for his mother when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and then even more so through his pain of losing her.

His amazing philanthropy work in fighting for a better understanding of Alzheimer’s is an achievement of greatness that we should all be striving to reach, while his songs during that same timeframe have played out as his diary, transparently sharing his heart, his life, and his navigation of tough emotions on both the good and bad days.

With well-received singles leading the way – “Halfway House,” “No Present Like The Time,” and “Better Now” - Allen is set to release his new album Des Moines on a date that holds personal significance (June 28th - his mother’s birthday).

Outlined by his closest friends, family, fans, music industry, and his backing band The Stallions, Allen celebrated the 10-song album with a top to bottom preview of it this past Monday night at Nashville’s Ole Red.

With static clips of his songs echoing the amplified sound system to set the overall atmosphere, the darkened stage lit up with rock induced guitar shreds and pops of drum beats as Allen immediately drew everyone in close as he pumped into his set with 2021’s “Tattoos to Heaven,” balancing the edges of his country flavoring against the natural grit of his rock aura while igniting a clap along when he momentarily left the stage to stand on the floor with the audience as everyone sang along.

“This is a really fun song that if you have two butt cheeks, you can wiggle ‘em like this,” Allen mimicked to hoots and hollers from the females in the crowd as he kicked into the live renditions of his new album with its opening track, “Girl and A Drink,” sitting firmly in the pocket of the funky guitar flow and instigating a dance party across the entire venue as hips began to pop in perfect rhythm.

“Already Wreckin’ Me,” a song which Jay said to be one of his favorites on the new album, slapped heavy guitar riffs through the intro as he slid his voice into the center of exchanging shreds to intriguingly unveil a side of his arsenal that recalled a late 90’s alternative rock vibe while lyrically showering praises on his better half for being the picture of perfection in every way.

If the crowd wasn't already invested, then the 1-2 punch of the previously released “Halfway House” and “New Girl” pulled them in hook, line, and sinker, both endearingly tallying the trials and tribulations of his relationship story from the heartbroken space between what used to be and trying to navigate moving on in the aftermath of what was.

Softening the pace, the albums focus track “Whiskey In The World” injected a moodiness into the vibe that accented the rawest edges of gravel in Jay’s vocal as he walked through an open letter to the ex who his heart can’t seem to let go of, expertly lifting his voice to punch the chorus in such a way that it added unbridled power to the frustration of the knowing that try as he might to drink her away, there just ain't enough whiskey in the world to do the trick.

“I kind of lost myself after I lost my mama,” Allen shared in what turned into a confessional moment that check marked his journey of initially falling into the darkness and turning to alcohol to cope, before then poignantly reminding us through “Better Now” that it’s okay to not be okay, but it’s not okay to stay stuck in that place as he encouragingly testified to keep moving forward one step of faith at a time.

“This next one is just a feel-good rock song, and if you play this one in a room full of drunk college girls… they’ll shake it,” Allen said with a laugh as “Heart Ain’t Gonna Break Itself” crunched its way through its anticipation laced build, allowing the chorus to then hit that much harder with an up/down type of rhythm that instantly sent fists pumping across the crowd, splashing the song with an anthem like flare.

In what was an “Only In Nashville” moment, joined by his wife Kylie Morgan, “We’ll Come Back Around” lyrically ran a circle of truth around what any relationship experiences with its natural growing pains, holding tightly to the hopeful knowing that your centerpiece will always come back to your unconditional love for one another and the ship will eventually be righted again.

While “Woman Made” toasted powerful women, “No Present Like The Time” saw Allen again leaning into a moment of inspired encouragement as he reminded everyone that we only get one life to live so we need to live it in this right now moment, make the most of it, and don’t take one single second for granted.

The infectious, boot stomping beat of “Sounds Good To Me” bookended the track list of his new album with one of the earlier songs that brought him to the dance as the crowd enthusiastically screamed along with every word as Jay left the stage to stand amongst them, ending his hour long set with a memorable bang!

The definition of who Jay Allen is as a songwriter and performing artist were certainly on display throughout his set, playing his album from top to bottom that conceptually played out as his life story…but the music and performance are only half of who Jay Allen is.

Purely humble and totally grateful, he more times than not removed the spotlight from himself and placed it brightly on the support system surrounding his entire journey, many of whom were in the crowd on this night, all celebrating together as a tight-knit family unit to raise one up to this Friday’s release of Des Moines.

FULL SET LIST

1) Tattoos to Heaven

2) Girl and A Drink

3) Already Wreckin’ Me

4) Halfway House

5) New Girl

6) Whiskey In The World

7) Better Now

8) Heart Ain’t Gonna Break Itself

9) We’ll Come Back Around

10) Woman Made

11) No Present Like The Time

12) Sounds Good To Me

 

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