After releasing a debut record on Parc Records in 2003, Charlie Allen hit the road and worked on showcasing himself at clubs across the country. Now five years later, Charlie is back with his second album, “That Was Then, This Is Now” finds the same talented artist but only this time he has even better songs on display. The River Runs Records album starts out with the interesting “I Can’t Take Him out of Me.” Featuring solid production from Brian G. White and Steve Dean, the song really reminds me of something that you might find Montgomery Gentry recording. The melody is from the Skynyrd book of southern rock but Allen’s vocal is nothing but country.
The second track on the album, “I Did This To Me” finds Charlie in fine voice once again as he sings a heartbreaking lyric about a guy who realizes the reason his woman has left him: himself. The melody is rollicking while the lyrics are interesting and hook you in. “See If I Care” features great fiddle and steel guitar fills backing up Charlie as he sings a lyric, which he co-wrote, about a relationship that had obviously run its course. “Everything But Me” has a driving melody that lends itself to, well, driving. Lyrically the song tells a story that’s the opposite of George Strait’s “Give It Away,” as evidenced in the song title, “she made it clear what her love was worth, she left no stone unturned…she wanted everything but me.”
While the record is primarily contemporary country, there are a couple of great traditional country tracks on the CD and one of those is Charlie’s version of Danny O’Keefe’s “Good Time Charlie’s Got The Blues.” Another of the traditional-minded tracks is the Strait-like ballad “Can’t Live Without You.” While the lyrics have been written many times, it’s Charlie’s passionate and emotional vocals that bring the pain and the hurt of the lyric out.
That’s what you get with a Charlie Allen album, confident, emotional and passionate vocals that deliver songs that rival anything released by major labels. With the internet’s help, artists like Charlie Allen and labels like River Run Records can level the playing field and compete with the majors. The one thing that’s required to compete is an artist of Charlie Allen’s caliber.