Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hit Songwriter Harley Allen Passes

Songwriter Harley Allen, who wrote numerous hits by Blake Shelton, Alan Jackson, Dierks Bentley, Gary Allan, Garth Brooks, Josh Turner and more died of lung cancer this morning at 55.

Born in Dayton, Ohio, he was the son of bluegrass singer Red Allen, and followed in his father’s musical footsteps at an early age.

Allen appeared on several 1970s albums with his brothers as The Allen Brothers. He also recorded three solo albums, "Across the Blueridge Mountains" (Folkways Records 1983), "Another River" (1996) and "Live at the Bluebird" (2001). Allen also provided background vocals on I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow from the "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" soundtrack. He has won two Grammy Awards for that recording in 2002, in the Best Country Collaboration with Vocals and Album of the Year categories.

Former publisher Jewel Coburn describes him as an “unbelievably prolific writer” with a heart as big as his song catalog. Jewel and Barry Coburn signed him to their Ten Ten Music more than 20 years ago, giving him his first publishing deal in Nashville.

Allen had been battling lung cancer for a short time and was released from the hospital yesterday. He passed peacefully at home with his family by his side.

He is survived by wife Debbie Nims, son Aaron, and daughters Katie and Maggie.

1 comment:

  1. A decade ago I noticed that many of my favorite songs on the first Gary Allan CDs I bought when I first started listening to. Country music had Harley as a songwriter. Therefore any time I saw his name in the songwriting credits, I had high expectations before I listened to the song--and he never failed to impress me. Quite sad to hear of his death today.