Acclaimed singer-songwriter Jon Allen will release his new album Deep River on 7th July, 2014 on Monologue Records. The album is the third of Allen’s career, and the first single released from it, ‘Night & Day’, has already spent five weeks on BBC Radio 2’s playlist.
Deep River contains some of Jon’s best work. To him, it’s simple. “I just try to write music that moves me. I’m trying to express some truthfulness. There are no gimmicks, no beeps and whistles.” On it he channels everyone from Dylan to Shakespeare, via Al Green, JJ Cale and John Martyn, and even manages to write a romantic song about bankers (“I know there’s not a lot of sympathy for bankers, but you can get off on retribution, and it’s dangerous”).
He says: “I feel a bit like I’m an outsider, now. I’m very inspired by music that feels like it comes from one of the main tributaries of blues, or jazz, or that kind of heritage. But it’s OK because there’s no such thing as a scene nowadays. You can jump out of the ground looking like 1959, 1979, 1989...”
And the subject matter? “It was what was coming out of me at the time. Ends of relationships, trying to figure out what the hell I’m doing with my life. I feel like there’s a spiritual side to the record – the title track is like a Negro spiritual, about trying to let nature guide me.”
It was “In Your Light”, taken from Jon’s 2009 debut album Dead Man’s Suit that landed Jon a coveted spot on “Later… with Jools Holland”. Introducing Jon, Holland described how he heard him on the radio and had to Shazam the track with his mobile to find out who the singer was before insisting he was booked for the show. “It was one of the most amazing voices I’ve heard this year,” he explained.
Radio 2 had also picked up on “Mercy”, Jon’s collaboration with the band Third Degree that really shows off his soul-vocal chops. “Duffy heard it on her tour bus and contacted my manager. I ended up in Sting’s studio in north London doing a session with her. She was stunned. I walked in and she thought I’d be black.”
Jon’s second album, “Sweet Defeat” (2011), continued Jon’s rise, spawning the Radio 2 A-listed hit track “Joanna” – the song that also made it onto the soundtrack of the global TV smash “Homeland”. It also landed Jon a featured slot on the BBC’s Glastonbury TV coverage. “It was Beyoncé then me! I like to think that she supported me,” he says. He continued landing big-name fans, including Guy Chambers, Mark Knopfler (who offered to play guitar for him), and Bob Harris, for whom he did a session; and toured extensively, both solo and with his band, appearing with Knopfler, Emmylou Harris, Damien Rice, and becoming a TV star in the Netherlands, prompting Jon to sarcastically remark, “In a year or two I could be a judge on the Dutch “The Voice”.
Jon will launch his Deep River album with a live set at The Half Moon in Putney on Wednesday, 18th June 2014. Jon will also appear at the Cornbury Festival on Saturday, 5th July, and Kew The Music on Friday, 18th July. A full UK tour for October 2014 will be announced shortly.