Dillon Carmichael’s family musical roots run almost as deep as his voice. His family tree includes a long line of musical talent including grandfathers on both sides, both named Harold, who played music throughout the 1960’s and 70’s. Grandpa Harold Carmichael was in a Gospel Quartet with his brothers while the late Harold Montgomery played country music at the Grand Ole Opry. Grandpa Montgomery was the first to grace the famous stage but Dillon’s uncles, John Michael and Eddie Montgomery, weren’t far behind. They carried on not only the family musical ambitions, but also their father’s dream of a successful career in the country music business.
Dillon says his own musical aspirations started around the time his father gave him a guitar for his 11th birthday. He didn’t bother with guitar lessons but instead taught himself to play. During his teenage years Dillon formed a band with friends who competed in local talent shows. After winning several talent competitions the band moved on to playing gigs for tips on boat docks around area lakes.
After the band broke up Dillon began dabbling in writing his own songs. He found himself playing bars around Kentucky where he met a music publisher from Nashville who was interested in working with him after he graduated high school. In 2012 he graduated on a Thursday and was in Nashville the following Monday. Dillon is writing with many of Nashville’s top songwriters and is currently crafting songs for his new recording project.
Every artist has their own unique story, but what sets a great singer/songwriter apart is the ability to make their audience feel like they’ve lived it too. Jeff Allen has that gift for reeling people in with his music and making them feel richer for having shared the journey.
A Texas born artist with a riveting stage presence and an uncanny gift for penning heart-piercing lyrics, Allen has that rare ability to blur the lines between outlaw attitude and mainstream accessibility, which has earned him a legion of devoted fans and a deal with the legendary Sony/ATV Publishing. Working with producers Kenny Greenberg (The Mavericks, Allison Moorer) and Odie Blackmon, who has penned hits for George Strait and Martina McBride, Allen has crafted a compelling collection of tunes that reverberate with the ache of lost love and celebrate the simple joys of a life well lived.
“Good to be Alive” boasts an engaging melody and an upbeat lyric sure to illicit smiles. “Pretty Little Lonely” is an edgy romp that showcases the playful side of Allen’s distinctive vocals. “Baby, I’m a Liar” has an insinuating groove and a lyric Allen relates to easily. “I’ve never been the guy to walk up and spit out a pick up line, so the song just really hit home,” Allen says of the lyric about a guy hesitant to make a move on a pretty girl. “I wrote ‘Baby I’m A Liar’ with Odie and Jaren Johnston, whose first band, American Bang, I’ve been a fan of for years. We wrote this song in about two hours. It just came out easy.”
Allen penned “Red, Wine and Blues” with Texas troubadour Brian Burke and Josh Osborne, whose credits include Kenny Chesney’s “Come Over” and Kacey Musgraves’ “Merry Go Round.” “The production captures the mood,” Allen says. “You can imagine this guy getting a phone call or text in the middle of the night from a person he knows he shouldn’t have anything to do with. It’s not my story anymore, but I can absolutely relate to that.”
“Hold on Me” is a rocking up tempo tune that paints a portrait of heartbreak. “Most people have somebody that they’ll never forget. Regardless of where you move on in your life and the places you may go, that memory will always be there in some form or fashion,” Allen says of the song he wrote with Ward Guenther and Silas Stamey. “This is a real sad heartbreak song, but its got a good energy. I love that about it.”
Allen’s ability to combine rock and roll swagger with country music candor has always served him well. The Canton, Texas native made his performing debut as a teen and was hooked. “Being up there on stage with a live band just felt fun and natural,” Allen recalls. “That was the first time I got a buzz for wanting to play.”
Too young to perform in clubs, Allen persuaded his parents to take him to venues that supported young artists such as the Grapevine Opry and Johnnie High’s Country Music Revue, which helped launch LeAnn Rimes and Miranda Lambert. “After I graduated high school, I moved to Waco and I was driving a truck,” he recalls. “I met some guys that were looking for a singer and they were doing four-hour gigs a night. That was Tequila Highway and I played with them for about two years.”
Allen’s solo debut “Raised on Gettin’ By” was a homegrown collection that showcased his eclectic musical tastes. The title track became a hit on the Texas music charts and Allen’s reputation as the next big thing continued to build. Blessed with honey blond good looks reminiscent of a young Brad Pitt and the poetic soul of Texas legend Townes Van Zant, Allen possesses a combination of searing integrity and down home charm that are a force to be reckoned with.
“My influences are all across the board,” Allen admits. “I love the openness and lyrical stories of Bruce Springsteen, the rawness of Charlie Robison, and the honky-tonk feel of Dwight Yoakam. But I can appreciate everything from Randy Rogers to Kings of Leon.”
It’s his ability to appreciate the best of all genres while remaining true to his own artistic vision that makes Jeff Allen so compelling. “I’m not trying to hit a certain vein or niche. I’m just doing what I do,” he says. “All the influences that I have be it rock or country come together. The Black Crowes bleed through in some songs while others reflect how much I love John Mellencamp and Bob Seger. I hope people just hear good music when it comes down to it. If you appreciate and relate to the songs in some way, that’s the end goal.
The Shuggah Pies
These southern songbirds bring together the classic rock they were raised on with the country music they fell in love with resulting in a beautiful combination of feisty sweetness all laced together with bone-chilling family harmonies. They have made a home for themselves in Nashville, devoting their time to writing, performing and continuing to evolve as musicians and artists in the process. These sister’s have spent their entire lives playing together and there is truly no comparison. The trio has hit the road with the likes of Tim McGraw, Hunter Hayes, Brantley Gilbert, David Nail, Jana Kramer, Chase Rice and others.