How Fatherhood and Two Strong Women Inspire Jimmie Allen
If you ask Jimmie Allen who the most important people in his life are, the likelihood that his mother and grandmother are two of the top names on the list is high. In fact, Allen is donning his grandmother’s scarf around his neck as he opens up to Sounds Like Nashville about their influence and his upcoming debut album, Mercury Lane.
There’s a sincerity that arises in the singer when he talks about the two women, who instilled core qualities in him from faith to a love of country music. “It was a special connection that me and my grandmother had. [I] can’t really define it,” he says genuinely.
Allen recalls the days when the two would go fishing together and when she introduced him to the Grand Ole Opry on the radio, a sacred stage on which he made his debut in 2018 to a standing ovation. And every Thursday night, Allen would venture back to his hometown of Milton, Del. to play a game of Sorry with her. “Even when I went to college, I’d still drive back an hour and a half,” he says. “We just had a connection. She was so strong.”
The same can be said for his mother, to whom Allen attributes his strong faith and sense of grounding. “My mom, everyday she calls me with some sort of advice or a Bible scripture, or something about life,” he says. These two resilient figures are the centerpiece of a song called “Warrior” featured on his 2018 album named after the street he grew up on. “I promised my grandma before she died I would never write or record a song I couldn’t sing in front of her,” Allen explains.
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He keeps this promise with his growing catalogue of songs that bestow messages ranging from love to overcoming obstacles. The romantic “Best Shot,” his breakthrough single, has become a popular wedding song that fans see themselves in, like one couple who shared with the singer that it makes them feel closer in their long-distance relationship. “Make Me Want To,” another romance-themed track, has the rising star singing about a woman he just met, and while it may be to soon to say those three words, he’s already feeling like she’s the one.
The championing “Underdogs” offers encouragement for those facing adversity, empowering them to summon the will to defeat life’s roadblocks, another valuable lesson Allen learned from his grandmother, a single mother of four that moved across the country and worked multiple jobs to support her family. “She always gave me great advice about obstacles in life, about looking at these obstacles saying, ‘I’m going to get past you whether I climb over you, go around you, go under it, go through it,’” he says with confidence. “She was always so positive.”
This fighter’s spirit comes to fruition in “Warrior,” as Allen sings about the women whose “heart has a strong right hook.” “I just felt like they needed a song. It’s about them, their strength,” Allen says of the song that honors “two people that are everything to me.” ”My grandma used to say, ‘Give people their roses while they can smell them. Tell people that they’re great and you appreciate them while they can hear those compliments.’ I try to do that with the song.”
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Another important person who inspires his music is Allen’s son Aiden, and fatherhood has granted the singer with wisdom beyond his years. “Being a dad’s changed me a lot. I’ve got a lot softer. You really look at things different,” he explains. He channels this perspective into a song called “You Won’t Be Alone,” turning his support for his son into music, with the lyrics acting as words of advice.
“I realize life is going to come in and try to push me this way and tear me that way,” he says of the song that has an important message for his son. “In the midst of your darkest times, I’ll be there for you.”
Mercury Lane debuts on Oct. 12. Allen will support Chase Rice on his Lambs & Lions Tour in the UK for five dates in October before jumping over to Scotty McCreery’s Life Changes Tour at the end of 2018. He’ll then join Kane Brown for his headlining Live Forever Tour in early 2019.