We all know the term singer-songwriter is dead. Dragged into the depths of musical hell by Blunt, Gray et al. to the point where the simple term for someone playing a guitar and singing by themselves has become a genre to sprint away from, to batter with a short, sharp stick. Not only did those insufferable slices piss all over us and the term, they also had the cheek, the downright nerve, to confuse us all for the rest of time. We hear a song we like and then, SHOCK HORROR, it’s just a guy and a guitar. Holy fuck! What have I become?! Next I’ll be buying my socks only from Mark & Spencers, reading the Daily Mail and clapping along to pop idol, having the time of my life. But hang on, this track IS good – and weren’t Dylan and Springsteen just guys with guitars? And Strummer and Westerberg and Sam Beam and Elliott Smith and, and, and…WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?!
Hailing from New York, J. Allen describes himself as a folk singer/songwriter but any notion of self-whimsy and paint-by-numbers bullshit is quickly disposed of thanks to some gorgeous melodies and cracked vocals, all shrouded under layers of darkening ambience. His new album, Wonder City, is released at the start of September and he plays a handful of UK dates in support of it. Listen to our choice cuts from the record below and be sure to check-out the tour itinerary…
8th Sep; Newcastle – The Cluny
9th Sep; Bristol – The Fleece
10th Sep; London – 93 Feet East
11th Sep; London – The Dublin Castle
Words by Tom Johnson