2014 was quite a year for blues artist Dexter Allen and there are no signs that he’ll be slowing down anytime soon. After playing lead guitar on and off for the legendary Bobby Rush for 14 years- four of which he spent traveling the world as his band leader, Allen had a proposition for Rush; his fourth project entitled “Bluez of My Soul.” Allen wanted it released on Rush’s Deep Rush Records label.
Rush liked the idea and the CD was released in April of 2014 making Allen the first, and so far the only, artist to join Rush on the label. 2014 was also the year Allen made his big screen debut portraying Sam Thomas in the James Brown bio-pic “Get on Up“. Explaining his character he says “[Thomas] was the bassist for James Brown in 1964 [and] played for [Brown] on the T.A.M.I. Show.”
Allen is currently marketing and promoting his second release on Deep Rush Records called “Trilogy of My Bluez” available since June 2015. On the title Allen says, “you’ve got some traditional, you’ve got some R&B, you’ve got some soul…three different types of blues all rolled up into one.”
Local fans grooved to some of Allen’s new tunes at the Third Annual Jackson Rhythm & Blues Festival this past August. This year marked Allen’s second time performing the event. Before the festival Allen said “I’m excited about meeting the fans, old ones and new ones. And I think this event is so good for the city of Jackson. We haven’t had anything like it since Jubilee Jam.” He added “I’m also looking forward to reconnecting with friends I haven’t seen in a long time.” Allen’s hour-long set included “the new single “Put Your Bluez on Me” and some of the old stuff too.”
Allen’s passion for the blues isn’t relegated to just playing and singing, he loves to educate as well. His philanthropic interests were first peaked in 2010 when Peggy Brown- currently the board chairman of the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame, introduced him to Blues in the Schools. Brown says, “He did a great job. He interacted with [the kids] and they loved him.” From there Allen did a workshop with autistic children. He was nervous in the beginning. “I didn’t know if my program was going to suffice, not knowing it was just what was needed. It was a humbling experience,” he says. Now, “every time I have an opportunity to work with autistic children or even autistic young adults, I take (it).”
Allen recently took on yet another philanthropic endeavor when he was elected to the Board of Directors of The Blues Foundation in Memphis Tennessee, Allen. A personal goal during his term is keeping the blues alive through education. He plans to create platforms that allow artist worldwide to collaborate, thus increasing visibility and ensuring longevity of the genre.
Allen’s work has been impressive to say the lease, but something tells me this self-described “little country boy with a little talent,” is just getting started.
Get show schedule and more at dexterallen.com.
Dexter Allen Trivia
- He’s been married for 20 years
- He has 3 sons all of whom are musically inclined. Allen says “I told them to get degrees first and then we can discuss music careers if they want to.”
- Proud Poppa bragging rights:
- 25 year old Dexter J. Allen plays football at JSU and plays drums at church
- 19 year old Devin T. Allen is a band scholarship recipient at JSU. He plays keyboards and drums at church in addition to singing
- 16 year old Deon M. Allen is an 11th grader at Terry High School. He’s in band and plays football
- Proud Poppa bragging rights:
- Allen spent 3 days on the set filming his scenes for Get On Up.
- Allen has 5 albums but only the last two are on Deep Rush
- Allen will serve a 3-year term on the Board of Directors of the Blues Foundation in Memphis Tennessee
- Recently signed on with a new booking agent: Muzik 4 You Entertainment, LLC
- In February of last year Allen received a resolution from his hometown of Crystal Springs. Less than a month later, in a resolution adopted by the Mississippi House of Representatives and Senate, Allen was described as a “Blues artists extraordinaire.” The resolutions commend the multi-instrumentalist and vocalist for his talents, accomplishments, and contributions to the music industry.
All photos courtesy of dexterallen.com except where noted.
A version of this article first appeared in Jackson Free Press Vol 13 No 49.