Romantic blues and jazzy strums, platinum-selling country singer/songwriter Jimmie Allen stuns with R&B inspired tunes in the country lane. Today marks the release of his upcoming collaborative EP Bettie James. Named wonderfully after his late father James Allen, and grandmother Bettie Snead, the project features several well named artists.
Jimmie Allen is far from the 20-year-old aspiring country singer he once was. Moving from Delaware to Nashville, he worked three jobs and wrote songs in his car. According to his interview with Billboard, his big break came in 2016 as he was on his way to canceling a gym membership he couldn’t afford. Signing a pub deal, he quit all three jobs and started working on his music.
Allen has released one EP and a debut album since, with three singles including the lead single ‘This is Us’ for Bettie James. His first two singles ‘Best Shot’ and ‘Make Me Want To’ both hit the #1 spot on US Country Airplay, making him the first black artist to launch their career on the back of two consecutive #1 singles in US Country radio. Both singles were from his debut album Mercury Lane.
Bettie James features 7 tracks and includes a diverse group of collaborators. From well-established country artists Charley Pride and Tim McGraw, to Christian rock influences by Tauren Wells, and that hip hop flare by Nelly; Bettie James is a showcase of different genres and talent. It’s also an EP that makes use of Allen’s musical versatility. Its lead single ‘This is Us’ features Noah Cyrus. The music video released on March 10 has garnered over 9 million views on YouTube. On describing his duet partner Cyrus to The Boot, Allen said, “She’s fun. She’s a cool kid.”
Other artists involved in the project include more country artists such as: Brad Paisley, Mickey Guyton, The Oak Ridge Boys, and Rita Wilson. According to Allen, he is “a fan of every artist” involved and is “humbled to have each one of them be part of it”. He sees the new release as a “two-sided coin”; it unites their love for music, but presents the varied talent among the collaborators and each individual song.
Each artist has touched the life of my dad, my grandmother and me through their music.Jimmie Allen
A seeming love letter for family and their legacy, Jimmie Allen’s Bettie James is out today.
Words by Mae Trumata