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With her first piano lesson at the age of seven, Allie Farris began her journey of creativity through music and the growing realization that this would be her life’s work. Raised on a steady diet of classic rock, Allie fell in love with the songs of Elton John, Joni Mitchell, Tom Petty, The Band, and many more. This great popular music of the ‘70s and ‘80s is the primary influence for the songs that she writes and performs today – piano driven, melodically soaring, lyrically focused, and emotionally rich.
During her high school years in Flower Mound, Texas, Allie formed her first band at the age of 15, performing at small venues around Dallas/Ft. Worth, while also recording two CD’s – Songs Written Upside Down in 2007 and All You Can Eat in 2009. Also during this time, she honed her craft with renowned vocal coach Tom McKinney and jazz piano virtuoso Julie Bonk (who was also Norah Jones’s teacher).
After graduation, Allie moved north just a few miles to the University of North Texas’s College of Music, where she joined the renowned Jazz Studies program and the women’s Jazz Singers ensemble. While at UNT, in the spring of 2010, Allie successfully competed in several songwriting contests:
Kerrville Folk Festival Collegiate competition (UNT winner)
Wildflower Festival Performing Songwriter contest (joint winner)
Kerrville New Folk competition (regional finalist)
This led to an expanded audience in the world of songwriting and solo performing, with gigs in Dallas at Uncle Calvin’s Coffeehouse, Poor David’s Pub, and Opening Bell Coffee.
After one year at UNT, Allie moved to Boston to study songwriting at the acclaimed Berklee College of Music. While there, she was elected by her professors to perform alongside two other students in a Songwriting Master Class. However, she didn’t stay at Berklee for long.
In January 2011, restless and ready to realize her dream of becoming a full-time songwriter and performer, Allie moved to Nashville, Tennessee. She quickly found opportunities to perform at such venues as the famous Bluebird Café, The Basement, Hotel Indigo, Mercy Lounge, and others.
She also met many excellent musicians and performers, and drew on this wealth of talent when she was ready to make her next CD, 2012’s studio project You Make Me Smile. Produced by the talented Rachel Loy (also on electric bass and guitar), and featuring acclaimed Nashville players Nick Buda (drums, percussion) and Derek Wells (guitars), the songs on this album were inspired by her brief time in Boston — the frustrations and longing associated with life in the big city.
After the CD’s release in May 2012, Arthur Wood of UK’s Maverick Magazine had this to say about it in his 3.5-star review:
[“You Make Me Smile is an] addictive six-song, folk-fused pop brew…”
“Farris delivers tour de force vocals…”
“How Is Your Love (Tonight) is the musical gem of this collection.”
In support of the album, Allie hit the road for the first time in May 2012, with Texas stops at Threadgill’s in Austin (opening for Jimmy LaFave), Mucky Duck in Houston (opening for K. C. Clifford), and others in Austin and San Antonio. She’s also traveled to venues and house concerts in Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Virginia, DC, Maryland, and planned trips in 2013 to Missouri, Illinois, Texas, and many more.
She returned to her home territory in September 2012 for debut performances at Saxon Pub in Austin and Blue Door in Oklahoma City, again in November for a series of joint appearances with her friend (and fellow 2010 Wildflower winner) Grace Pettis, and finally in December for a triumphant debut at the historic Kessler Theater in Dallas opening for Emily Elbert.
Also in December 2012, she began the first of several shows in Texas and New England supporting the Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter/pianist Seth Glier, including return appearances at Uncle Calvin’s and Mucky Duck in Texas, and performances at acclaimed Northeast venues like Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, MA, Club Passim in Cambridge, MA, and many more. She was also featured in Toronto as an Official Showcase Artist for the 2013 International Folk Alliance conference.
Audiences in 2014 will also be hearing some great new Allie Farris songs, many of them co-written with other talented artists with whom she’s connected over the past few years. She released a new EP, Allie Farris EP, online on March 3rd, 2014. In May, she was named the winner of the Songwriter Serenade contest in central Texas, which brought with it an opportunity to perform at the Bugle Boy in La Grange.
Her self titled debut full-length album of brand new songs will be finished in late 2014.