Allen Jon
01. Dead Mans Suit
02. In Your Light
03. Going home
04. Down By The River
05. Sleeping soul
06. Happy Now
07. Take Me to Heart
08. Lay your Burden Down
09. Young Man Blues
10. New Years Eve
11. Bad Penny
12. Friends

We receive around 100 discs a month for consideration to carry through Fish, but every so often a disc arrives that takes you by surprise and stops you in your tracks. ‘Dead Man’s Suit’ is one of those discs; it’s probably the vocals that first hit you, but he sustains the interest and quality across every songwriting discipline, resulting in one of the finest debut albums you’re ever likely to hear.

South Devon based, Jon studied at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, and it’s obviously served him well as an apprenticeship, as the lyrics are thoughtful and considered, but the range and maturity of the arrangements is exceptional – he moves from the acoustic James Taylor-esque ‘Take Me To Heart’ through to the title track that has echoes of John Martyn.  Despite these songwriting signposts and markers, the fact that he’s not afraid to mix these influences together means he has a distinct voice in the singer/songwriter arena – and it’s an approach that has an obvious and wide appeal across folk and singer/songwriter cognoscenti and beyond.

Jon’s acoustic and electric guitars dominate the disc, but he’s a multi-instrumentalist and adds a huge range of instrumental variety across the album; in addition to his own playing, he uses a small group of musicians over the 12 songs, notably around half of the tracks have some wonderful Hammond which provide that warm, lived-in sound that suit his vocals perfectly.  He has a beautifully relaxed voice that while utterly distinct, has echoes of Billy Joel, Dylan and Rod Stewart in places – regardless of any comparisons, his phrasing and delivery is exceptional and he’s one of the most memorable vocalists in recent memory.

For an artist yet to release an album (this album is released in mid May 2009) he’s achieved a huge amount of support and publicity, from ‘Going Home’ being featured in the Land Rover TV commercial in 2008, to ‘In Your Light’ being playlisted on Radio2 in the run up to the release of this disc – while often this could just be attributed to great press and PR, this is a case of genuine talent shining through, Jon’s disc is released on an independent label, and the quality of the material stands up for itself.

In addition to the  headline tracks ‘In Your Light’ and ‘Going Home’ there are some real gems here, ‘New Years Eve’ and ‘Friends’ are relaxed, low-key songs that both have honest lyrics and killer melodies, and ‘Young Man Blues’ and ‘Happy Now’ take a more groove-based approach adding some contrast and colour to the album, but in reality all 12 songs here are strong and worthy of note.

There’s no doubt that Jon Allen is a young artist with a huge future in front of him – he’s a confident and mature writer, who can back it up with a strong voice as well as skilled hand in arranging songs, and it’s all wrapped up with the ability to write a memorable hook.

There’s very little to dislike on ‘Dead Mans Suit’, it’s an album of real quality and craft and one of the finest debut albums around – he’s a genuine talent with wide appeal.  Not to be missed. All copies signed.


Allen Jon

CD (Cat No: 13486)

Add To Basket Listen to the album


More from Allen Jon