Kevin Allred is a fierce performer, engaging audiences with a mix of humor and a heart-on-his-sleeve candor that is not readily available in today’s music scene. His live performances blend personal storytelling with raw emotion, all on top of a heavily strummed acoustic guitar and soaring, wide-range vocals. Think acoustic punk rock meets soul singing. Jennifer Layton of Indie-Music.com has described Allred as “earnest, yearning, angry, energized – even during the quieter ballads, he sounds like he couldn’t sit still if you nailed his sneakers to the floor.” His new album – Brave (Songs: 2005-2012) – harnesses that same live experience that has thrilled and moved listeners for years, into a collection of songs that forces the listener to both feel the intense pain Allred conveys while still proudly pumping their fist in the air: he sings for the outcasts, he rages, he preaches, he longs, he laments. And he makes it sound like he is sitting right in your living room with you while he does it.
The self described singer/songwriter/activist loved music from a young age. He picked up the guitar at 16 and, using the musical training he already had in piano, taught himself some chords. Soon, he was writing his own songs and performing for friends in living rooms and backyards. In 1999, and while still in high school, he released Demo Tape (now out of print). In 2000, Allred took his musical career to the next level by releasing his professionally recorded debut – Sick Today – on his own label, Gutter Folk Records. A track from that album was featured on the Queer Stock, Queer Soup compilation (2002 on Hurricane Doria Records) alongside Ani Difranco and many others.
In 2003, Allred released Gasping for Breath, upping the musical ante of his previous independent releases by adding full band arrangements to his songs. He continued to tour across the country – at small venues, festivals, and universities – and has appeared with fellow singer/songwriters Edie Carey, Doria Roberts, Eric Himan, and Gold-certified recording artist Sophie B. Hawkins. He has played shows from the Rainbow Room in Los Angeles, California, to the Middle East in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and most places in between.
Since his last release, Allred has nearly completed a Ph.D. in Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University, taught university courses on black feminism and Beyoncé Knowles, and completed study at Berklee College of Music in Boston where he was touted as “a refreshing mix of classic rock meets alt-country, with hints of old school R&B in the vocals.” He released a single showcasing this sound, “For Always,” in 2012. Allred will continue to write and tour to promote Brave in 2013.