THE MUSICAL JOURNEY of ALLAN THOMAS
My musical adventure began in Brooklyn NY when, at age 12, I joined an A Capella vocal group, performing at local events. At age 18, I signed my first solo record deal with noted producer Huey P. Meaux, who released my first single on Scepter Records.
Becoming a songwriter at 19, I soon played the coffee house circuit in Greenwich Village, and in 1971 Sire Records released my first album of original songs ‘A Picture’ produced by Richard Gottehrer. To support the album I toured the US opening for acts such as Cannonball Adderley Quintet, Weather Report, Richie Havens, Mark Almond Band, and elder blues men Bukka White and Arthur Crudup.
In 1972, I was invited to improvise vocals on the Cannonball Adderley Quintet song ‘Behold’ which appeared on the groups ‘Soul of the Bible’ concept album, featuring Cannonball and Nat Adderley, and George Duke. I also sang improvisational vocals with the quintet at the Troubadour and Lighthouse clubs in Southern California.
In the late seventies I was a staff songwriter for ABC Music, and moved to Kauai in 1983. I released my second album ‘The Island’ on my own Black Bamboo Recordings label in 1989. The CD was produced and mixed by Stephen Barncard, and featured Russell Ferrante of The Yellowjackets, and Michael Ruff on piano and keyboards.
1997 found me releasing my third album ‘Coconut Culture’, which was produced, recorded and mixed by industry veteran Mike Shipley. The CD featured a duet with Graham Nash of Crosby Stills & Nash on the song ‘The Navigator’. On this record I begin using several alternate guitar tunings that were gifts from David Crosby.
From 1998 to 2004 I moonlighted as a DJ at KKCR Kauai Community Radio.
In 2005, I was assistant engineer on Donald Fagen’s (Steely Dan) third solo CD ‘Morph The Cat’ which earned Fagen a 2006 TEC award for outstanding creative achievement for best record production album from Mix magazine, and a Grammy for best surround sound CD. I also had the great fun and fortune to play rhythm guitar and sing backing vocals for both Fagen and Todd Rundgren in a benefit concert in March of 2005.
In October of 2007, I released my fourth album ‘Making Up For Lost Time’, joined by Graham Nash singing backing vocals on the song ‘Ray Of Hope’, along with James Taylor’s bassist Jimmy Johnson, and Tris Imboden of Chicago on drums. The self-produced record also features Kauai musicians extraordinaire Ken Emerson on slide guitar and lap-steel, and Michael Ruff on keyboards and backing vocals.
In 2008, I took the AT solo show and toured the west coast from Los Angeles up to Vancouver Canada, and the east coast from Virginia Beach to Boston, making many new friends and fans, and selling millions of CD’s to boot!
In May of 2009, longtime producer, mixer, and friend Stephen Barncard and I released Brooklyn Boy In Paradise – The Unreleased Collection – 14 songs from 1980 – 1994.
In November of 2011, Black Bamboo Recordings released my fifth studio album ‘Deep Water’. Produced by yours truly and Mixed by 2012 Grammy award winner Mike Shipley. The CD features David Crosby, Graham Nash, and members of the Bonnie Raitt, James Taylor, Neil Young, CSN, Van Morrison and Yellowjackets bands, plus local Kauai standouts Bryan Kessler, Michael Ruff, Ken Emerson, Kirk Smart, and Kauai songbird Anjela Rose.
In May of 2012 ‘Deep Water’ was nominated for Rock Album of the Year in the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts 2012 Na Hoku Hanohano Music Awards. http://www.nahokuhanohano.org/blog/?p=322
Currently I’ve been watching ‘Deep Water’ find safe haven in radio stations worldwide, and have begun recording my sixth – as yet untitled – studio album. I’m also performing solo regularly, teaching guitar, voice, songwriting and Protools, plus recording and producing other artists, while surfing and windsurfing as much as humanly possible.