Johnnye Allee

Johnnye Allee

 Los Angeles, California, USA
BandFolkAcoustic

John Hiatt meets Paul Simon at Lyle Lovett's house... Wry, intimate and soulful, Johnnye's songs are an earthy blend of stripped-down, story driven folk-pop/roots-rock freshly brewed and served up steaming from the American roadhouse.

Biography

(View a PDF of Johnnye's latest Press Release by clicking on "Basic Req" in the above header bar.)

ASCAP/Sammy Cahn Award winning singer-songwriter Johnnye Allee makes his recording debut with "Unless it Isn't." Combining a gentle and fluid voice with acoustic piano, acoustic and electric guitars, and drums, his music is an earthy blend of stripped-down, story driven folk-pop/roots-rock freshly brewed and served up steaming from the American roadhouse. His unconventional songs are at once wry, intimate, soulful, cinematic, and poignant.

From the rootsy, ice-house feel of “Everything Will Be All Right," to the mournful country-flavor of “On the Kern County Line” and “Texas to Tuesday," all of the songs on this album have a personal musical style that is grounded in the traditions of the great singer-songwriters from the sixties and seventies. “I’m the Apostrophe” and “Fire is Yellow” take on a heat-hazed swampy intensity with “Torn” adding a measure of ethereal ambience and “Half on the Side of the Leaver” lending gospel tinged raw-boned grit. “That’s the Thing of It” introduces an almost symphonic piano-based pop sound, while “A Simple Transpicuous Philippic; or, You're Not Nice” plays it folk-traditional in an homage to Paul Simon’s early send up of Bob Dylan. “Another New York Knockout," “Hidden in the Crosshairs," and “I Love You Like This” display crisply poetic lyrics and haunting melodies, with a rich sense of harmony in the elegantly simple arrangements.

Johnnye is a recipient of the ASCAP/Sammy Cahn Award for excellence in lyric writing (past winners include John Mayer, Josh Ritter and Lori McKenna) and a multi-faceted performer whose music and acting credits include appearances on stage at Arizona Theatre Company, Los Angeles Theatre Center, Pasadena Playhouse, The Wiltern Theatre, The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, San Francisco War Memorial Opera House, Houston Grand Opera, and the Mark Taper Forum, among others. He has also performed for audiences in Europe and Russia, though, thankfully, he says, in his native English. TV and Film appearances include “Grease 2," “Always Say Goodbye," “Phoenix," “Shattered Vows," “Candid Camera," “Nowhere Fast," and “Hope and Gloria."

Johnnye is also an award winning author and composer of musical plays, including “The Boy Who Could Make Himself Disappear” and “Poet’s Garden” (which won the Backstage West Garland Award for Best Musical Score). His songs have been performed in clubs, theatres and on national TV.

Please contact Johnnye directly for a copy of the album or MP3s of the tracks:

Portuguese Knees Music
info@portuguesekneesmusic.com
(323) 860-9979

Lyrics

Everything Will Be All Right

Written By: Johnnye Allee

Well they closed down County General
And the Blue Line opened yesterday to nowhere
And I’ve got this splitting headache
And I haven’t had a girl since last September

But everything will be all right
Yes everything will be all right
Unless it isn’t

There’s a guy in Sacramento
Who wants to blow the world up with a postcard
And my landlord just informed me
That he plans to use my bedroom for his office

chorus

There’s really not much else to do
Just pick a tack and sail on through
Can anything worth knowing be for sure?
Grassy knolls and big black holes
The silent mystery of souls
Can you tell me without blinking
That she loves you?

There’s a country full of immigrants
And no one can remember
Where they came from
But if we’re all supposed to be here
Well then maybe we should
Show some signs it matters

chorus

There’s really not much else to do
Just act as if it’s nothing new
How many times before?
How many more?
People try, the years go by
Like vacant stares in dumb reply
Like promises and premises we hold to

And I hope that I’ll be saved
Although I haven’t been to church
Since I was seven
But if God is who they say he is
Then maybe I should buy myself an army

chorus

Fire is Yellow

Written By: Johnnye Allee

Emmett Roe locked the doors
On twenty five desperate southern souls
Trying to work their nine to fives
He locked the doors – Kept ‘em tight
He never did care that they all might
End up fighting for their lives

Fire is yellow
The color of the moon
Your mama will be prayin’ for you soon
Fire is yellow
Its reaches only spread
Your mama will be cryin’ when you’re dead

Emmett Roe liked to say
He never did trust them anyway
Stealing chicken parts and such
It all adds up – every dime
The cigarette breaks, the wasted time
“I ain’t no sucker – Not so much”

Fire is yellow
The color of a snake
There’s always someone sneaky on the take
Fire is yellow
And colors like to run
They do a lot of damage when they’re done

Emmett Roe got a call
Said that a fire killed them all
When the fryer caught a flame
The workers ran, they couldn’t see
And only one man he had the key
But there’s a hundred men to blame

Fire is yellow
The color of disease
Your mama will be fallin’ on her knees
Fire is yellow
It’s greedy and it’s hot
Your mama will be missin’ you a lot

I'm the Apostrophe

Written By: Johnnye Allee

I move my mouth, you nod your head
Have you heard anything I’ve said?
I mean, come on now, what’s the deal?
Why don’t you tell me what you feel?
I knew the situation going in
I guess I thought I’d have a thicker skin

I’m the apostrophe
I’m there to show what’s missin’
Like Marlon Brando’s stand-in
Like some dark shadow creepin’ there
‘Cause when you look at me
I know it’s him you’re seein’
And what is so confusin’
I don’t even care

We talk in terms too vague to tell
And yet it’s spoken all too well
Whatever means I might employ
I’m just another changeling boy
No matter how I try to give to you
I haven’t found a way of getting through

I’m the apostrophe
I’m there to show what’s missin’
Like some big yellow ribbon
A marble statue standin’ there
‘Cause when you look at me
I know it’s him you’re seein’
And what is so amusin’
I don’t even care

I’ll find a star and shoot it down
I’ll wear your hair shirt, be your clown
I’ll make a friend, I’ll start a war
Imagine any metaphor
If I could carve your face in ivory
What a perfect image that would be

I’m the apostrophe
I’m there to show what’s missin’
Like Marlon Brando’s stand-in
Like some dark shadow creepin’ there
‘Cause when you look at me
I know it’s him you’re seein’
And what is so amazin’
I don’t even care

Half on the Side of the Leaver

Written By: Johnnye Allee

Half on the side of the leaver
Even while I’m left behind
I thought I’d go crazy
I thought that these days
Would be filled with a rage that was blind

But I’m half on the side of the leaver
Who hasn’t wanted to run?
Like Bonnie and Clyde
You root for the wrong side
Despite all the crimes that they’ve done

She offered the bread of her body
And kisses like wine
She told me she’d love me like Jesus
And I got hooked on the lure of that line
Forever hers but never mine

Half on the side of the leaver
Even while I’m blown apart
Sure I lay bleeding
But wasn’t she needing
A much better man from the start?

Now I’m half on the side of the leaver
Why that should be I can’t say
But true love’s expression
Can betray your flesh
And can make you do things its own way

She offered the bread of her body
And kisses like wine
She told me she’d love me like Jesus
And I got hooked on the lure of that line
For Heaven knows she’s so divine

Half on the side of the leaver
Half on the side of the leaver
Half on her side …

Hidden in the Crosshairs

Written By: Johnnye Allee

Hey, Annie, looks to me you could use a rest
I think I’ll take that job at the family store
Choice is something you and I could live with
Maybe even something we never had before

Hmm hmm hmm hmm hmm hmm hmm
Hmm hmm hmm hmm hmm hmm hmm

Hey, Annie, looks to me you could use a friend
I bought some front row seats for your favorite band
Music may be all I have to give you
Sometimes maybe even all that I understand

chorus

Hey, Annie, looks to me we’ve a ways to go
I think I’ll take that drink if there’s anything left
Chance is always hidden in the crosshairs
Somewhere in the scene between the warp and weft

chorus

On the Kern County Line

Written By: Johnnye Allee

On the Kern County line
There ain’t nothin’ but sky
And a long stretch of highway
As the tan fields roll by
There’s a crow on a fence post
Keepin’ tabs on a toad
As I roll down the road
Past the gas station sign
On the Kern County line

On the Kern County line
Back before we were born
They were mining for gold here
Sparkling kernels of corn
That could fill a whole skillet
If you struck it just right
If your luck wasn’t tight
Like most men in the mine
On the Kern County line

On the Kern County line
Caught in the middle of choosing
And losing my mind
If I met you half way
Where would that leave us
But lead us astray?
And the Golden Gate shines
And LA’s a place that’s too hard to find
Like a fortune or fame
Like a town with no name
On the Kern County line

On the Kern County line
Where the oil flows hard
With the blood of the Yokuts
In the Mexican’s yard
And the Cantonese worker
Gave his life on the rails
Just more traveling tales
Grown like weeds on a vine
On the Kern County line

chorus

Texas to Tuesday

Written By: Johnnye Allee

She's been out on the road
She forgets for how long
Just her dog her guitar
And that scorpion song
She's got a head full of
Interstate RV campgrounds
And she's trying to find a place
She can't be found

'Cause there's a man in her life
Who doesn't like to play fair
He's got cards up his sleeve
She gets caught unaware
And he promised her
Sure as his old short-arm blow
That he'd never let up
That he'd never let go

She drives from Texas to Tuesday
Looking for where to say when
She'd buy a house in the country
But what if he finds her again?

So she jumps in the van
Makes a stop at the store
Pulls out her map
And drives 16 hours more
Now what was that town
In that traveling book
Maybe she'll go there
And have a quick look

And if it rains all the time
At least the air doesn't stink
Like it did in LA
Like it did when he'd drink

And she remembers how
He wasn't always that way
But his thirst made him mean
And his threats made her stay

chorus

She may settle down
She may settle the score
But one thing's for sure
She should settle for more
And if it takes her whole life
Then her life it will take
It's the price that you pay
When your life is at stake

chorus

She drives from
Memphis to midnight
One more motel and she'll quit
She'd like a warm bath with bubbles
She'd like a nice place to sit

She drives from Austin to April
Keeping her eyes on the mirror
What is this cold cup of coffee?
What is this black-hearted fear?

From Branson to broken …
From Mobile to maybe …
From Nashville to nowhere …

I Love You Like This

Written By: Johnnye Allee

I love you like this
Without any sunset
Without any candlelight
Warming your features
Without any mistletoe,
Music or mystery
Here’s how I love you
Just you and me
You and me

I love you like this
Without any whisky
Without any midnight that
Melts into morning
Without any warning or
Worry or say so
Without any money or
Children or answers
Without any fireworks,
Favors or fantasy
Here’s how I love you
Just you and me
You and me
You and me
You and me

Another New York Knockout

Written By: Johnnye Allee

She’s just another
New York knockout
You’d better treat her
With kid gloves
She’ll have you dangling
On the ropes there
You’ll only get so far and then

It’ll hurt when you drop
It’ll hurt when you drop
Yes it hurts when you drop
Don’t it hurt when you drop?

She’s undisputed, undefeated
You’re at the bottom of the card
Decked out in silver threads and diamonds
She’s got the muscle and the crowd

And it hurts when you drop
It hurts when you drop
Yes it hurts when you drop
Don’t it hurt when you drop?

And when she’s got you down
You think your number’s finally up
Your world’s a blur,
You’re going blind
You never were the comeback kind
You thought you had a match
A chance to show a little spine
Then she moved in
And feinted right
An easy win, a nasty fight

She gets a slew of new contenders
You lose the title and the ring
She keeps the city and her fan base
You get the hell out of this town

And it hurts when you drop
It hurts when you drop
Oh, it hurts when you drop
Like a bitch when you drop
Yeah, it hurts when you drop

Lucky Day Girl

Written By: Johnnye Allee

Lucky day girl
Living on sunshine
Walking a fine line
Lucky day girl

Lucky day girl
Wing and a prayerin’
Devil may carin’
Lucky day girl

You’re taking all your pleasure
And making all your plays
You find the hidden treasure by any measure
And ways to get what’s coming
And ways to get ahead
And to get what you want
But one of these days …

Lucky day girl
What if it’s raining?
Will you still be champagning
Lucky day girl?

Lucky day girl
If your luck runs dry
I’ll be your lucky
Lucky day guy

You get just what’s expected
You set up all the rules
You seem so well protected
So unaffected by fools who want a piece of you
Fools who’ll stack the deck
So you lose on the draw
And though it seems cruel
To lose to a fool …

Lucky day girl
Luck can be fleeting
So it’s worth me repeating
Lucky day girl

Lucky day girl
If your luck runs dry
I’ll be your lucky
Your lucky day guy

I’ll be your lucky
Your lucky day guy

Discography

Unless It Isn't (2007)

Set List

Set list can be provided, but varies show by show.