News Shadow to Debut 'Gotham Gem' at CBGB
Reprinted from:
Oct. 1, 2002


Press Release  
NEW YORK, N.Y. — As critics sing the praises of Allen Shadow’s Gotham-inspired album "King Kong Serenade," the rock poet prepares for it’s national release party Oct. 15 at 8 p.m. at CB’s Gallery in Manhattan.

Shadow will perform songs from his debut CD on indie Blue City Records. Written and produced prior to the events of 9/11, "King Kong Serenade" offers a gritty portrait of New York City, from its famed icons to its ill-fated ghosts, as it invokes the spirits of Kerouac, bebop jazz greats, painters, grifters, street hustlers and colorful side-show personae.

Music writers are already praising Allen Shadow, calling him "a true rock poet in the tradition of Nick Cave, Tom Waits, and Dylan". His gritty, literate New York City style has critics comparing him to early Lou Reed, Bruce Springsteen, Jim Carroll and even Walt Whitman.

"Perhaps not since Lou Reed…have images of New York life, from the sidewalks to the subways to the squatter tenements, from Coney Island to the Bronx, been so aptly paired with the sound of crunching guitars, bass and drums," wrote Seth Rogovoy in the Berkshire Eagle.

"Like Reed, Shadow has the poet’s gift for imagery (‘Platform cheek to cheek/The paper hides the morning geeks/Signs read in shock speak/Sunglassed to the knees’)," said Rogovoy. "Charles Mingus haunts the proceedings, as do Allen Ginsberg, Thelonious Monk and Jack Kerouac, but Shadow is an original storyteller, painting vivid portraits of the romance and terror of life in the world’s greatest city."

"At a time when many are wondering about the future of New York City," wrote Terry Ross in a 5-star review in the Daily Freeman," Shadow's work is a lovely repast, truly an abnormally poignant journey through yellow bejeweled images and the splendid squalor of one of the world's greatest microcosms."

"Allen Shadow gives a classic performance that will surely raise some eyebrows in the entertainment sector," Keith Hanneleck of wrote of ‘Serenade.’ "It rocks with passion and the hot burning intensity of a 100 degree sidewalk…His words are eventful and he sounds like Coney Island baby Lou Reed meets Tom Verlaine after a steamy rockin’ Wayne County concert at CBGB’s."

But where has such an artist been all these years? The answer is simple: in development.

Shadow (a.k.a. Allen Kovler) began his writing career as a poet. Two books of his poetry — "Harlem River Baby" and "A Heart in the Anteroom" — were published by Quick Books (Pueblo, Colo.) during the 1980s, and his work was included in many small- and university-press publications nationwide.

Also during the 1980s, the Bronx-born bard co-edited a literary magazine and directed a reading series in upstate New York that included the poets Robert Creeley, Robert Kelly and Gary Snyder.

As a performance poet, Shadow toured college campuses in the 1980s with a staged version of "Harlem River Baby," which included the doo-wop group the Phantoms. The show played to rave reviews at the same time Shadow’s writing was singled out by such literary publications as Library Journal, which called his imagery "startling."

Meanwhile, his music interests led him to a stint in commercial songwriting. He spent much of the 1990s as a songwriter in Nashville, writing for PolyGram, SONY, and Mel Tillis’ music publishing company, among others.

Despite working with such artists as Trisha Yearwood, Shadow, like many literary songwriters before him, ultimately decided Nashville’s formulaic canon was limiting. Consequently, he returned fully to his poetic voice, this time marrying it with music as he had always intended.

During the four years it took to write and produce "King Kong Serenade," Shadow was encouraged by fellow poets, including the late Allen Ginsberg who had spent much of his career working with the convergence of poetry and music.

"Work on ‘Serenade’ led me on an intensive exploration into the soul of my beloved hometown," said Shadow, a former New York City journalist and taxi driver. "It was the most exhilarating experience of my life.

"Sadly though, when I wrote about the Empire State Building, I couldn’t have known it was to be the city’s tallest building again."

Ironically, Shadow recorded his offbeat urban rock-album in Nashville with a cadre of alternative-music veterans. Included were Bob Dylan and Lucinda Williams guitar alumnus John Jackson, John Prine drummer Paul Griffith, and Janis Ian keyboard player Randy Leago.

The artist currently tours with John McInerney on percussion and Jack Edwards on bass.

Shadow received a 2001 New York State Council on the Arts grant to support his work as a rock poet.

For further information on the Oct. 15 performance at CB’s Gallery, visit,, or call the club at (212) 677-0455.

CB’s Gallery is located at 313 Bowery, between 1st and 2nd Street in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. A part of CBGB, the Gallery is adjacent to the fabled club, which has been a mecca of underground music for the past 29 years.

Shadow will also perform Saturday, Oct. 12 at 9 p.m. at The Uptown in Kingston, N.Y., as part of the national tour. Further dates will be announced.

For further information on the Oct. 12 performance at The Uptown call the club at (845) 339-8440. The Uptown is located at 33 N. Front Street, Kingston.


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