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The best singer that you have never heard

Is Billy Allen the best singer that you have ever heard? Maybe not. Is Billy Allen the best singer that you have never heard? Now, that is a possibility. Here is a list of the things that I know about singer Billy Allen:

  • He has performed at weddings, Facebook live and a handful of gigs in the Southeast.
  • His Facebook page lists a number with a 256 area code, so I am led to believe that he is from or at least a resident of North Alabama, possibly Town Creek.
  • He has excellent hair and exceptional taste in jackets.
  • He has exactly one song on Spotify, 2020’s People, Turn Around recorded with The Pollies as his backing band, and I can’t stop listening to it.

That’s it. That’s the list. In a time in which I can hear a band for the first time and within seconds have access to their entire catalog, merchandise, favorite foods, and find out if they have already broken up or been canceled, the Billy Allen mystery has been truly intriguing. It harkens back to a time when the first time you saw an artist’s face was on the cover of the album, or cassette in my case. A bygone era where a voice like Allen’s would have fit right in.

I will refrain from making the obligatory comparisons to great voices from the past or proclaiming Billy Allen the next (insert just famous enough to be cool soul singer name). I will say that he has a voice that reaches right into you and takes whatever it wants when it leaves. The combination of his delivery and The Pollies’ meandering vibe seems too effortless. The fact that this is a collaboration and not a band that has spent the last 15 years in the back of a Chevy Express is quite frankly unbelievable.

I would love to speak specifically about certain tracks but they are simply not readily available. The largest collection in a single place is from a November 2021 show from Singin’ River Brewing in Florence, Alabama, available on Youtube. This was the first time that these pandemic written songs were performed live, which is, again, hard to believe, even with less than optimal sound recording.

While I certainly enjoy a good mystery, this one can be solved. Both Billy Allen and The Pollies will be in the 256 on April 30 at Decatur’s gorgeous Princess Theater. Billy Allen has a voice that might prove as timeless as the historic theater that will host them.

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