About Kellie and Pete
Kellie grew up listening to her grandma’s piano playing, her dad’s barbershop quartet singing, her mom’s tales of playing the snare drum in the ladies’ USO band in Victoria, TX, her five siblings’ vocal harmonies, and the beginning days of brother Greg’s old time banjo playing and fiddling, which led to his persistent requests for guitar backup from Kellie. She responded by using her guitar skills to form an alternative rock band, Pay Attention. The Allen family still spends time singing whenever they get together.
Kellie has developed a driving backup guitar style with bass runs, listening extensively to guitar heroes such as Roy Harvey, Riley Puckett and Charlie Monroe. She has adapted that to the upright bass, and in recent years has been playing mandolin. Her vocal influences start with Maybelle Carter, Julia Mainer, and gospel great Jeanette Cooke, and include the tenor singers of the great brother duets such as Ira Louvin and Bill Monroe. She is also an excellent lead singer, having won a number of singing prizes at festivals.
Some Of Kellie’s past workshop topics and classes have been:
- Introduction to Backup Guitar
- Bass Runs for the Guitar
- Playing Guitar in a String Band
- Introduction to Upright Bass
- Bass Runs for the Upright Bass
- Finding Your Vocal Range (with Pete)
- Duet/Harmony Singing (with Pete)
- Lesser Known Old-Time Gospel Songs (with Pete)
Pete’s earliest musical memories are singing songs from the “Fireside Book of American Folk Songs” to his mother’s piano accompaniment. Although she taught piano professionally, he resisted learning, and was given a guitar at Christmas 1959. Four months later, he was singing a Tom Lehrer song in his high school’s talent show. A banjo followed several months later, which led to the New Lost City Ramblers and, eventually, to County Records reissues and reel-to-reel tapes and to a lifelong interest in the music of the Carter Family, Uncle Dave Macon, the Skillet Lickers and most of all, Charlie Poole. In fact, Pete owns and plays one of Charlie Poole’s banjos, presented to him him in a midnight seance organized by the late Ray Alden, where “a long-distance call to Hell” informed him that Poole himself wanted him to have that banjo. He has used this banjo to win a number of banjo contests (including the Charlie Poole Festival’s Grand Prize for fingerstyle banjo) and have a great deal of fun along the line, playing in the pre-Bluegrass three-finger banjo styles of Poole, Macon and others.
Some of Pete’s past workshop topics and classes have been:
- Introduction to Fingerstyle Banjo
- Maybelle Carter’s Guitar Style
- Music of the Carter Family
- Finding Your Vocal Range (with Kellie)
- Duet/Harmony Singing (with Kellie)
- Lesser Known Old-Time Gospel Songs (with Kellie)