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Jason Allen didn’t learn to play guitar in college. He didn’t sing in dorm rooms and coffee shops before his big break. He was standing on honky-tonk bar stools and stages, strumming on his six-string and singing songs of heartbreak and loss before he learned to write cursive. When the subject turns to “paying dues,” Jason can claim the street cred that comes from playing to the roughest, the drunkest, and the most ardent country music fans in Texas.
But when it comes to the new album from Jason Allen “Lovin’ You,” the focus is on love and life, fishing and women, fun and family. Singing the 11 songs he penned, Allen’s clear vocals -- reminiscent of Vince Gill at the top of his game -- send out the message that Jason Allen is not heartbroken or lost, he is having a great time, a great life, and wants the music to be heard. Having polished and honed his guitar chops as the lead guitarist of his band for the past 10 years, Jason lets that talent shine through like never before on the new CD.
What might be perceived as a fresh new sound on the country music scene in Texas is actually an old hand at it, though Jason Allen hasn’t released an album in the last 4 years. His sound, in contrast to many of the purveyors of current Texas music, is reminiscent of the great artists of the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s. Without sounding dated or “retro,” “Lovin’ You” could stand up next to the best of Keith Whitley, Steve Wariner, or Ronnie Milsap.
The first single from “Lovin’ You” -- Goin’ Fishin’ Today -- is hard-driving and the perfect summer song. Allen’s effervescent vocals and pistol-hot guitar licks will drive you to tap your foot if it doesn’t make you grab your fishing pole. An avid fisherman since his youth in East Texas, Allen conveys the fun of an afternoon on the lake even to those whose feet have remained firmly on Texas soil.
Throughout “Lovin’ You” Allen professes his love for his family --parents, wife, and children --and his faith in Mama Got Jesus, Lovin’ You, Just Looking In Your Eyes, Bouncin’ Babies, and The Hard Way. But with a wink and a smile, Jason Allen sings of a Mudflap Girl and The Devil Has Red Hair with the impishness of a boy with a hand in the cookie jar. With each cut of the album shining with a stellar band led by Allen’s enviable guitar picking, “Lovin’ You” will quickly find its place on the iPods of Texas music fans and in the listings of the Best of 2012. Worth the wait, Jason Allen’s latest will be welcomed by his fans and discovered by his fans-to-be.