Allen Thompson Band releases Salvation in the Ground
A band collaboration that roots itself in harmony
Los Angeles, CA 6-25-2012—The Allen Thompson Band’s new record, Salvation in the Ground (Palaver Records September 4, 2012)roots itself in an early 1970’s California sound with big vocal harmonies layered with front man Allen Thompson’s soulful singing and thoughtful lyrics. Salvation in the Ground is less a solo venture than his previous record 26 Years (2009) and more of a collaborative effort this time around.
“It became evident that the harder I tried to be a solo artist, the harder it was to do the songs justice,” said Thompson. Adding a strong rhythm section and a fourth harmony vocalist to the three piece string band (guitar, banjo, mandolin) that he had been touring with since 2009 eventually rounded out the 6-piece electric lineup that is now the Allen Thompson Band. “Sure enough” he adds, “as soon as we started playing as an electric band and improvising and having more fun on stage, the response to the music improved dramatically.”
Thompson took his time getting the material together for Salvation in the Ground spending the better part of two years writing, revising, rehearsing and demoing the songs before bringing them to the band. Thompson has this to say about the process: “When I first started writing these songs, I knew I wanted to be completely satisfied with them before I showed them to anyone. The band had plenty of old songs to learn, and it didn’t look like we would be recording new material anytime soon. I’m glad I spent so much time on these tunes, because it made it that much easier to teach them to everyone when Palaver offered us the chance to get back into the studio. The recording itself went really smoothly, and only lasted a few days.”
His thoughtful, literate songwriting stands on its own, but the nine songs on Salvation in the Ground make way for the vocals and instruments to shine, from the piano driven “Everybody Knows” to “Love One Another” where the accordion and fiddle take the stage and “While I’m Young” an acoustic number that highlights the banjo. Harmonies are a given and really stand out on “Tell It To Me” and the desert road song, “Dirt To Dust” while the song “Payback” pays homage to the soulful feel of Motown.
Salvation in the Ground was produced by Adrija Tokic and Allen Thompson and Thompson wrote the songs with help along the way. The band used the crowdfunding source ‘Kickstarter’ to aid in the production in the record. With a large fanbase in place, the campaign was so successful that Forbes Magazine sat up and took notice using the Allen Thompson Band as a measure of success when writing an article on modern day techniques for raising capital and investments.
Based in East Nashville, which is a blue-collar neighborhood east of the Cumberland River, the band is both a 10-minute drive and a world away from the glittering lights of Music Row. “Nashville is so densely populated with talent that it’s hard not to be inspired everywhere you look”, says Thompson, “Living here really makes you work… not so much for competition’s sake, but just to be able to converse musically with other players. I thought I had it together a lot more than I actually did when I first moved to Nashville. I’ve still got a long ways to go, but I’m thankful for the education I’ve received so far.”
Salvation in the Ground shows Thompson deepening and enriching his music while anchoring the band in strong sense of community. The Allen Thompson Band is a bunch of talented friends making music together, driven by a shared belief in their songs and their ability to communicate their pure joy of playing music. “I just want to play music all day, everyday.” Says Thompson. The simple honesty of that statement is what makes The Allen Thompson Band shine.
The Allen Thompson Band is:
Allen Thompson (vocals, guitars), Clint Maine (guitars, banjo, percussion, vocals), Grayson Downs (bass, vocals), Joe Andrews (guitar, mandolin, keys, vocals), Laura Maine (vocals, percussion) and Ray Dunham plays drums live. Adding help to the record were: Don Gallardo (lyrics, vocal), Fred Eltringham (drums on the record), Luisa Lopez (lyrics, vocal), Luke Bulla (fiddle), Marion Grace (vocals) and Micah Hulscher (piano, organ, accordion and electric piano).