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J. Allen - Worry Not

  by Keith How

published: 23 / 8 / 2016

J. Allen - Worry Not
Label: Altco Records
Format: CD


Melancholic but heartfelt EP from Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter, J. Allen

If you think you have had a bad day then take a listen to Brooklyn folkster J.Allen on the opening track of 'Worry Not'. 'LBC' starts with some gently plucked strings and a rather plaintive harmonica before the heartbroken vocals come in. I am not sure this was the best choice for the first cut on this six track EP. I am not adverse to an air of melancholy but the mournful tone of these heartfelt vocals, however tender and well considered they might be, set the tone for this “thoughtful” offering. After about four minutes I am ready to answer the invitation “pour another drink”.The harmonica reappears after five minutes and then fades away leaving you feeling rather downbeat. The title track does not lighten the mood one little bit. A plucked banjo accompanies a sorrowful tale of unfulfilled dreams. It's a bleak and minimal landscape. 'Bring Her Back Home' has a warmer feel and is almost a country waltz. The harmonica takes a jaunty middle eight as J. is longing to see his girl again. At the halfway point I cancel my phone call to the Samaritans to listen to another tale of heartbreak and falling out of love. There is a full band sound here with some tasty pedal steel but those world weary vocals are sounding a little tiresome. There is a great Eagles feel to 'Wrong Side of the Law'. Fuelled by a shuffling drum sound and pedal steel, this is a fine song that would sit nicely on the 'Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid' soundtrack and features another side to Allen’s vocal delivery. The good work continues on the final track 'Hold On to Me'. This final song has a real sense of presence. While never really picking up pace, there is an otherworldy atmosphere of desperation and hope. It is an excellent composition that almost redeems the whole concept. After a few listens to 'Worry Not' which lasts for twenty-six minutes, I realised that my initial reservations were down to the running order of the songs, so should you feel inclined to give this slice of Americana a listen start with track six and work backwards.

Track Listing:-
1 L.B.C.
2 Worry Not
3 Bring Her Back Home
4 Fall out of Love
5 Wrong Side of the Law
6 Hold on to Me

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