News Rock Poet to Perform in Catskill Gallery
Reprinted from:
Nov. 1, 2001


Press Release  
CATSKILL, N.Y. —Poet rocker and recording artist Allen Shadow will perform unplugged and solo at the Catskill Gallery of the Greene County Council on the Arts, Saturday, November 17 at 6 p.m.

Shadow will feature songs from his new Blue City Records CD "King Kong Serenade," which offers a noirish portrait of New York City, from its famed icons to its ill-fated ghosts. The album’s songs invoke spirits past of Times Square, the Beat writers, jazz greats, the Lower East Side, Coney Island, and the Bronx.

"Allen Shadow is gritty and intense," said music critic David Stadalnikas, in a review of the album, "and ‘King Kong Serenade’ is a wild tour-de-force that pushes the rock envelope and is nothing short of sublime."

The show will also include compositions from Shadow’s next album project. Entitled "Purple Plain," the forthcoming CD takes on America in the same serio-comic fashion that "King Kong Serenade" captures the Big Apple.

Shadow 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 of Pueblo, Colo., during the 1980s, and his work was included in many small and university press publications nationwide.

Also during the 1980s, Shadow directed a literary reading series and co-edited a literary journal for the Greene County Council on the Arts.

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."

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 too limiting. Consequently, he returned fully to his poetic voice, this time marrying it with music as he had always intended.

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

"I believe that rock music as an art form is still in its infancy," said Shadow. "I hope the kind work I’m doing now can be a part of its development."

The Shadow performance at the GCCOA Gallery is free and is made possible with public funds from the Decentralization Program of the New York State Council on the Arts, administered through the Twin Counties Cultural Fund in Greene County by the Greene County Council on the Arts. For more information, call the council at (518) 943-3400.


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