In Review: Indie Folk Songwriter David James Allen & His Latest Album ‘The Architect’

Imagine coming back to a project after an entire decade of leaving it on the shelf; dusting off the cobwebs, reigniting the desire, and diving back in to something you started when you were a different person. While many people would be intimidated by this daunting task, this is exactly what David James Allen accomplished when he released his album, The Architect

Growing up in Barrie, Ontario, Allen was surrounded by music from a young age. His parents both played instruments, which introduced Allen to the infinite worlds of folk, country and classic rock. He would start writing at the age of 12, and branch out to different genres in his late teens. By the time he reached his early 20s, he would return to the musical roots his parents instilled in him.

When the Demons Come released in October of 2017, and was the first album of Allen’s solo career. After that, he would release an impressive 14 singles and an additional album before he started finalizing his newest/oldest project, The Architect.

The album starts with the song, “For the Times,” a smoky country ballad with hints of Neil Young and Willie Nelson propelling the song forward. The line, “For the times ahead when I can do what you’ve done for me,” tells of his burning need to repay someone for all the good they’ve brought.

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Another track that caught my ear, “Bound to the Game,” turns the old school country to a 10 with the galloping drums and chickin’ pickin’ guitars. Allen on this track talks of his bittersweet relationship to the entertaining world.

Nobody,” on the other hand, is filled with the barren landscapes of isolation. The tempo is slowed down to a waltz with all the instruments swirling around the swinging drums. “Nobody noticing and nobody doing their part,” creates the feeling of a cold world where no one is willing to look out for each other.

The last song on the album, “Share on You Silent Tongues,” strips everything back to an acoustic guitar, steel guitar, piano and Allen’s voice. “Every living being, no matter how small or proud/ Must rise up to their feet,” Allen croons. A stark, but profound way to wrap up the album.

A decade of life and love poured into a single piece of art is something many people can’t say they’ve done. It’s a testament to Allen’s creative ability and concentration when it comes to music.

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