The Other Side
Minnesota-based music artist Cole Allen first appeared on my radar while I was in the midst of reviewing the album Live My Life by his wife Sena Ehrhardt. Allen was lead guitarist for the band, and that album, which was released on Blind Pig Records made a terrific impression on me. His new six-track release The Other Side is quite impressive as well. His talents shine brightly on this recording as he performs solo with acoustic guitar in hand.
Divided into two parts: sunset, and sunrise, this album begins on the darker sunset side, with title track “The Other Side”. There’s a strong Pearl Jam-unplugged vibe on this song, which I just love. Allen’s lyrical mastery is perfectly framed by his melancholy melody in “Black Cloud” a song where desperation seems to be the norm, and total hopelessness seems to be right around the corner. As the darkness fades away, and the light creeps in, a splendid cover of “Maybe it’s Time” by Jason Isbell opens the sunrise portion of the album in a thought-provoking fashion. Allen’s odyssey through the dark and into the light finally lands him on the ‘other side’ with “Noelle”. This beautiful song, dedicated to his daughter, is wrapped in a blanket of love and joy.
The Other Side is such a reflective piece. Allen wears his heart on his sleeve throughout the whole album. His original songs are amazingly crafted and seem to walk the line between Eddie Vedder and John Prine. I certainly hope to hear more of Cole Allen in the future.