MCALISTERVILLE — Local musician Payton Allen seeks to spread the message of love and hope through his music to help those who have had or are currently going through the struggles of addiction.
A self-taught performer, Allen started playing guitar in 2010 before performing in 2015. But that wasn’t until he worked for Firetree Ltd’s Conewago Drug and Alcohol. that he found the inspiration to create an album.
“I actually never struggled with addiction myself, but I worked in a drug and alcohol rehab for about four months,” Allen said. “I have had a lot of experience with people who are addicted to drugs, alcohol and even children my age. And a lot of gentlemen older than me. But that’s my experience and that’s what kind of led me to write this first album.
As for the genre Allen wanted to play for his album, he simply looked back to his roots and found that country music was the perfect fit for him. Allen drew inspiration from country legends such as George Jones, Waylen Jennings and Mark Haggard, among others.
“I always liked country music growing up, but for a while when I was in high school, it was like metal music and rock music,” Allen said. “It was funny, when I got to college and picked up a guitar and really got back to my roots and really got into bluegrass music.”
“But country music, older country music like Waylen Jennings, Mark Haggard, George Jones, that kind of stuff really appealed to me,” Allen continued. “And that’s the kind of music I try to put out too.”
Along with his experience working with people struggling with addiction, Allen also added tributes to a number of family members for the album.
“Truly my family. There’s a lot in the album about family. Allen said. “There’s a song in there that I wrote for my daughter a few weeks after she was born. There’s a song that I wrote for my son when he was born years later. There’s a song there -in it for my grandfather and then some songs that talk about addiction and what I learned in drug and alcohol rehab. That was my inspiration.
However, it took Allen a little while to be able to start working on the album for one reason or another. But, when the world shut down due to the pandemic, Allen quickly used the opportunity to get to work and put the album together.
“It was great because I did everything myself. I said I had been going there for years and never had the money or the time,” Allen said. “Then COVID came along and we all had a lot of time. I really taught myself how to use my MAC Book. I bought the recording equipment, sat down and did it all myself, and also learned how to mix and master the music. But it was great to finally be able to say “I did it”.
Then finally in June 2020, his album was made available to the public. According to Allen, it received many positive reactions. He appreciates it all.
“Whenever someone hears a song I wrote, it’s always a good reaction”, Allen said. “People come up to me and tell me your words mean something to them. The song I wrote for my daughter got really good reactions. It’s music people can relate to, but I also received constructive criticism.
But there will be more to come. According to Allen, there is another album in the works. In fact, there are two albums Allen hopes to release to end the year on a high.
“I hope by the end of the year to release another CD,” Allen said. “Actually, I have enough songs for another country album and I have enough for a whole Gospel album. It would be nice to release that. So everyone can hear it.”
For more information, visit PaytonAllenMusic.com.