ALLEN, HARLEY LEE (1956-2011)

Lead singer and guitar player for the Allen Brothers, Harley Allen began his professional career at the age of sixteen. Later, he and Mike Lilly organized the Allen-Lilly Band, which had a polished and exciting traditional sound. Harley began writing songs at fifteen, and finally moved to Nashville to be closer to the action. The move paid off as he began to get his songs recorded by name country artists like Alan Jackson, Blake Shelton, Garth Brooks, Allison Krauss, George Jones, Dierks Bentley, John Michael Montgomery, Ricky Skaggs, and others. In 2005, three of his songs topped the country charts, he was the BMI Songwriter of the Year, and won the IBMA Song of the Year award. He received a great compliment when legendary songwriter Harlan Howard reportedly said, “Harley was the best damn songwriter to hit this town. He was the real deal.” He was married to Debbie Nims, a well-respected and in-demand back-up singer in Nashville for recordings and live tours by major artists. As a performer, he won a Grammy in 2000 with Dan Tyminski and Pat Enright for their performance of “I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow” on the soundtrack of the movie O Brother Where Art Thou. In 2003, he and Dierks Bentley dueted on the Grammy winning album tribute to the Louvin Brothers. As a solo performer, he recorded an LP on Folkways, a cassette on Vetco, and CDs on Mercury and American Originals.

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