Jimmie Allen is an award-winning country artist, and he doesn’t shy away from blending genres with star-studded collaborations and adding his own flare to the country music industry.
Allen recently spoke with Sule Holder of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The interview was shared in conjunction with Allen’s addition to the Cleveland, Ohio-based museum’s “Right Here, Right Now” exhibit. The attraction aims to feature current chart-toppers. Allen met with Holder, the Rock Hall’s Collections & Library Assistant, for a virtual interview to catch up with him about his music and his biggest influences.
“I’m adding myself. I’m adding the way that I view country music,” Allen said of wanting to add to country music rather than change the genre. “I’m adding my sound to country music, because when you add to it — right now I have people that like what I do, right? Here’s the thing with changing it: If I go and change country music, I’m taking away what my dad liked about it. I’m taking away what his dad liked about it. I’m taking away what other people like about it, and just doing what I do. ...No. Leave country music as-is, and you add to it, so people that rock with you, now they’re a part of that. People that rock with some other new artists coming in, now they rock with them to where it (expands). …Just add to the music.”
Allen added later that he believes country music is “still the same,” focused on “three chords and the truth.” Rather than changing, Allen believes there are different styles of the genre as there are different styles of pop and other genres of music.
One thing Allen maintains as a significant inspiration in his music (and his wardrobe) is his loved ones. Allen explained to Holder that everything he does has a heartfelt intention behind it, including the stunning gold suit he wore to the 2022 GRAMMYs that’s now on display in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s “Right Here Right Now” exhibit.
“That’s one of me and my grandma’s favorite colors,” Allen said of the gold suit, explaining that the accents on the knees represent the “praying woman” his grandmother was. The train stands for always reaching back to friends and family, even when moving forward. “Everything I do has sentimental value and reasoning.”
The “Right Here, Right Now” exhibit invites museum goers to “explore some of music’s current chart-topping artists and up-and-comers and see how they have been shaped and influenced by Rock Hall Inductees. We also celebrate what is happening now in the music industry, featuring albums, documentary films and new projects that are making a mark in contemporary culture.” Find more information, including featured artists and artifacts, here.