When Jimmie Allen steps onto the stage at the Tom Benson Hall of Fame for the Legends concert on Monday night, the country music star will be watching thousands of fans and always being in awe of the moment.
Although he is considered a pioneer of music as a black artist in the country genre. Even if he won the biggest prizes. Even though he recorded songs to top the charts and was praised for his latest album.
“Dude, every time,” Allen said of the privilege of performing live. “I do it every moment. Even sitting here talking to you (in a phone interview). These are things we’ve dreamed of as artists all of our lives.
“You still pinch yourself,” he added, noting that when the thrill and appreciation is gone, “that’s when you messed up, that’s when you messed up. lost. “
Allen will open the concert of co-headliners Lynyrd Skynyrd and Brad Paisley to close the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival.
The concert will not be subject to any pandemic restrictions as the event is outdoors, said Rich Desrosiers, Hall of Fame vice president of communications and public relations.
Who else is playing?
Three-time Grammy winner Paisley is one of the most accomplished and popular country music artists. He also won two American Music Awards and 15 Academy of Country Music Awards.
Inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2006, Lynyrd Skynyrd is best known for the songs “Sweet Home Alabama”, “Free Bird” and “Simple Man”.
The southern rock group will perform the Canton show without its only original member, Gary Rossington, who is recovering from recent emergency heart surgery.
Johnny Van Zant, younger brother of Lynyrd Skynyrd co-founder Ronnie Van Zant, is the band’s lead vocalist. Elder Van Zant died in a plane crash in 1977 with band guitarist Steve Gaines and backing vocalist Cassie Gaines.
Tickets, ranging from $ 75 to $ 152 each, were still available Wednesday and can be purchased online at www.profootballhof.com/tickets.
The concert will conclude a festival honoring both the Hall of Fame Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic canceling out last year’s events.
Fan of the Eagles
During an approximately 15-minute phone interview, Allen was courteous, engaging, and seemed delighted to perform at the Concert for Legends. He was also looking forward to his first trip to the Hall of Fame museum.
Allen has said he is a die-hard Philadelphia Eagles fan.
“I’m bleeding green,” he said excitedly.
“I can’t wait to see Reggie White’s bust there,” Allen said of the legendary defensive lineman and former Eagle.
Shifting the conversation to the gig, Allen said he wouldn’t be a stranger to Paisley. The two have already played a few dates together on the Paisley summer tour.
Allen looked ecstatic when asked if he would join Paisley on stage to perform the song “Freedom Was a Highway”. The track, taken from Allen’s “Bettie James” album, features Paisley.
“In fact, my team tapped their team to make sure that happened,” he said. “It has to happen! “
Jimmie Allen would love to work with Elton John
Allen’s success in country music was not immediate.
Attempts to break into the music-focused TV shows “America’s Got Talent” and “American Idol” did not materialize. Persistence, however, ultimately led to a recording deal with BBR Music Group’s Stoney Creek label.
The song “Best Shot” from her 2018 debut album, “Mercury Lane” reached No. 1 on the country radio charts, followed by a second No. 1 hit, “Make Me Want To”.
And her 2020 album “Bettie James” has been praised for its diversity of sounds and styles. Joining Allen on the album are Noah Cyrus, Darius Rucker, Tim McGraw, Rita Wilson, The Oak Ridge Boys, Mickey Guyton and others.
At the end of June, he released the sequel to the project, “Bettie James Gold Edition”. Nine new songs are included with Babyface, Keith Urban, Little Big Town, Pitbull, LANCO and more.
Allen said there are a number of other artists he would like to work with on new music.
“I would really love to do a song with Elton John,” he said. “I would love to do a song with Adele, OneRepublic (and) Maroon 5. I want to do a song with Camila Cabello. I really want to do a song with Celine Dion.”
“Your moment will come”
Allen perked up when asked what advice he would give to others who pursue lofty dreams and goals.
Among the skeptics and skeptics, he said, “I would say keep going. The only opinion that matters is yours. The last thing I care about is what someone thinks about what I’m doing.
“… The more you get from no … use it as fuel,” he added, calling it “logs on the fire” that serve as extra motivation.
“You have to believe in yourself no matter how many no’s you get,” Allen said before adding, “Ultimately your time will come.”
‘Beneath the surface’
Allen became the first black musician to be named New Male Artist of the Year at the 56th Academy of Country Music Awards. Allen was also nominated for the Country Music Association’s New Artist of the Year in 2020.
When asked about songwriting and the pursuit of a hit, he named abandoned music industry icons including Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston.
“I think what makes a song special is the depth of what connects to people below the surface,” Allen said of songs that have remained popular over the decades.
“The first and only you”
And it is important for a musician to be himself, he said.
“There is a Paul McCartney,” Allen said. “There is a Beyoncé.”
“What happens is that people buy into who they are through their music, and I think that’s the thing – being yourself,” he added. “… Don’t worry about being the next so-and-so – just worry about being the first and only you.”
Allen has spoken openly about his accomplishments as a black country music artist.
He also addressed the issue on his debut record on the clever and poignant track, “All Tractors Ain’t Green”, when he sings:
Not all guitars sound the same
I can’t judge the whiskey by the bottle
Can go against the grain
From that country boy motto
Sometimes what you get is not always what you see
Not all fields are corn and not all tractors are green
“We’re a little closer to normal,” Allen said of black country musicians. “That’s what excites me … because in all genres (other than) country music, race is not an issue.”
Contact Ed at 330-580-8315 and [email protected]
On Twitter @ebalintREP
If you are going to
WHAT Legends Concert
WHO Jimmie Allen opens for co-headliners Lynyrd Skynyrd and Brad Paisley
WHEN 8 p.m. on Monday
OR Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium at the Pro Football Hall of Fame
HOW Tickets cost $ 75 to $ 152 and are available at www.profootballhof.com/tickets