The music scene in the four corners got a bit cooler when Dale X Allen pulled into town. The guitar player, record producer and recording engineer who, after two decades in Austin, decided to high-tail out of Texas, and landed just outside of Dolores in 2015 ready to play shows and record bands.
His ties to the area go back a dozen years or so when he’d come through town playing guitar with Dave Insley’s Careless Smokers. In addition to being a hired gun in numerous Austin bands that gave the man lots of tour time, he had and continues to have his own band in Genuine Cowhide, a group sought after by fans in the Four Corners thanks to support of local radio stations like KDUR, KSUT, and KSJD.
Genuine Cowhide’s next local show is on March 31 at The Balcony Backstage.
When Austin got too big and the other musicians were getting too young, Allen split.
“I used to play these gigs and this gaggle of guitar players used to stand in front of me and marvel at my twisted style, and one night I overheard them and they said ‘He’s really good; he’s an older guy though,’” said Allen. “And, I saw it go from two lanes to six lanes, and I did everything I wanted to do down there. I side-manned for a bunch of people, played steel guitar for hillbilly and rockabilly bands, played bass in industrial garage grunge bands, did industrial dance club stuff, played blues.”
Allen is a welcome addition to the area. Genuine Cowhide has four records, including 2017’s stellar release “Breakthrough Comeback,” that explores his brand of rock ’n’ roll, a psychedelic mix of surf and country-rock, with a garage-punk edge and a spaghetti western motif. He calls it “nitro-twang,” an apt and perfectly placed description of Allen’s original music.
Genuine Cowhide is starting to pick up some more steam with local shows, and in addition to beefing up the tour schedule, Allen will produce and record other bands; his in-home studio has been the recording venue for the latest Moetones record (of which he’s also a member) in addition to the forthcoming release from Wake Up Laughing.
“I do not do it for money. I do it when I find people that have great material and they don’t know how to do the next part,” he said. “So I’ve tried to launch people’s careers, and most I’ve recorded, it’s their first record. And I’ve helped a lot of people get started.”
Ultimately, Allen remains unapologetically dedicated to the feedback-driven and country-influenced punk style of rock ’n’ roll that was being made before “alternative country” was a common term and when punk rockers were still outcasts. His early contemporaries were bands like The Beat Farmers and The True Believers, and Allen is continuing to connect the dots between The Stooges, Jimi Hendrix, Hank Williams, and Ennio Morricone.
He’s also of the mindset that part of Colorado is in need of more rock ’n’ roll, well aware that Colorado’s love of unamplified music has relegated, in some areas, rock ’n’ roll to the back-seat.
“Colorado has a huge acoustic bluegrass thing that’s been going on here since the ’70s,” said Allen. “I was recently at a gig last year and a couple acoustic guys played before us, and then while we were playing they were screaming ‘Hey, turn off the electricity!’ The point is, I think people (who) act like that reject rock ’n’ roll bands. That’s what I want to do in Colorado, bring more rock ’n’ roll and show you how good it can be.”