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Tall Dark Stranger is the brainchild of Dee Allen, a Nashville native who has never liked the idea of being pigeonholed into one style of music. Their sound reflects his diverse influences, from classic guitar rock to sophisticated pop to R&B dance grooves. Allen says, “If an idea pops into your head and moves you enough to write it down, then it will probably move others as well. I think it’s important to let each song be what it wants to be, and not lose sight of what initially gave me chill bumps."
Although his style emerged from eclectic influences, it’s grounded in a rock solid history. Born near Nashville, Dee literally grew up in the music industry, to musical parents (Oak Ridge Boy Duane Allen and Grand Ole Opry backup singer Norah Lee). His mother taught him to hear harmony by singing hymns around the piano. At age fifteen, his path was set when he picked up a guitar and taught himself to play by listening to KISS and Def Leppard albums. Within a year, he began writing songs. By his junior year, he had formed his first rock band, who recorded an EP and an album. This piqued an interest in recording and arranging, and soon Allen was spending all his free time in his home studio making elaborate demos, typically playing and singing all of the parts. He spent the next several years gaining experience as a session singer, demo producer, stage performer, and even as the baritone singer of the Oak Ridge Boys for a brief period.
Tall Dark Stranger originally came together in 1998, and began making regular appearances at Nashville clubs and writers' nights. In their first few years together, they performed with acts like Big & Rich, Joe Pisapia (Guster), Billy Yates, John Cowan (New Grass Revival), and Dave Berg. They released two collections of demos, but frequent personnel changes prevented them from recording a cohesive album together. The band was put on hold for a few years when Allen was hired to sing in a theater show in another state. During that period, he poured his time, energy, and resources into making the first proper Tall Dark Stranger album. Performing most of the instruments and vocals, he also drew from a large stable of talented friends and co-workers. The result is that each song on "There It Is" has a character of its own, while sharing a common thread of clever arrangements, insightful lyrics, intricate harmonies, and Allen's soulful lead vocals.
For Dee, the only rule for an artist is to keep it interesting to him/herself. “There will always be a faster player or a higher singer. But, if you strive to develop your own unique style and be true to what moves you, then you’ll be untouchable.”