Your face needs rock and The Allendales are happy to help your face
The Allendales formed in 2007 in a garage on Allendale Drive in Lincoln, Nebraska – a town that has become well-known as a musical honey-hole in recent years. With the exception of the occasional road trips to Texas or Colorado the boys have maintained their musical presence mainly in their home state of Nebraska.
They started out as a group of (mostly) divorced dudes who hung out regularly throughout the week, drawing on each other for hope and humor, and making music together as a shared vehicle to their happy place.
The band currently consists of a solid four-piece, headed up by two lead vocalist/guitarists, Ken Morton and Shaun Sparks. Bassist Darryl Rivers also lends his backing vocals, making the band’s 3-piece harmonies the most recognizable aspect of their sound. Ken and Shaun trade between lead vocal duties, with the non-lead usually joining Darryl on backup harmonies. Drummer Matt Ihrig lays bricks with dynamic yet powerful drumming that ties the band, historically ranging wildly between classical country and punk rock, together into a cohesive alt-rock & roll sound.
Over the years the Allendales have had several incarnations, including with founding drummer David Duncan, pedal steel player Tim Konecky, and Rhodes pianist Mark Harpham in the lineup. During most of the Dales’ history, Sparks fronted a sister band called the Wounded Animals, with Morton on bass and Ihrig on drums. Also over this time, Duncan was playing drums and Konecky was playing Steel in the Dales.
The band has opened up for such touring artists as Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, Great American Taxi, Chuck Wicks, Pete Best, Forty Twenty, Drive by Truckers, The Mike McClure Band, Macon Grayson, Mighty Short Bus, and The Drams. They also appeared as “The WilcoDales,” during the 2011 New Years Eve show at the famous Bourbon Theatre in Lincoln, in a wild celebration that featured established local bands becoming tribute bands for a night.
Recordings and Critical Acclaim
The short discography of the Allendales begins with 2008’s Debut Low Morals and High Standards, which was recorded under the vaulted ceilings of Darryl’s living room by Studio F, Bzzz, and Silver Street producer Sean Beste.
It got immediate praise from local press, with L. Kent Wolgamott writing: “The Allendales are Lincoln’s proud purveyors of Americana and, as can be heard on ‘Low Morals and High Standards,’ they do it very, very well… That’s precisely what The Allendales, who are named after the street, play: a pedal steel sneaking out of the big beat rock n’ roll tunes. ‘Low Morals and High Standards,’ produced by Sean Beste, captures that sound and the band’s alcohol-drenched spirit to perfection. It’s one of the best local records I’ve heard this year and one that’s going to get plenty of spins on my players”
In 2011 they followed up with The Wicked World EP, a notably heavier record, produced by Fuse owner Charlie Johnson. This was the first time the band had emerged as a 4-piece since its conception, before they brought in Tim Konecky on steel to make it a five.
Local press responded favorably, with L. Kent Wolgamott again noting: “The Allendales have just the right kick and swing, rolling along on ‘Steady as She Goes,’ which is reminiscent of early Steve Earle. Then the drums rumble on the spooky nighttime stomp of ‘Sticky Rabbit,’ and then ‘Desperate Savior’ brings out the harmony vocals for a song of regret. But the record's real gem is ‘American Anomalies,’ an ode to union men, teachers and everyone else ‘caught in the crosshairs of greed and fear.’"
In 2009 Kent Wolgamott wrote in the Ground Zero publication: “These self-proclaimed ‘Divorce Rockers’ blend great aspects of the alt country genre. Expect a show featuring solid songs and lyrics, honest and raw musicianship, and an aptitude for whiskey and beer drinking. Check out this band if you like: Wilco, Steve Earle, and Tom Petty.” He also wrote in another instance, “…lots of songs about whiskey and heartbreak from this alt-country outfit that reminds me a little of Son Volt.”
After a 2011 show at the Zoo Bar using an older 6-piece configuration featuring the aforementioned members Mr. Wolgamott wrote: “Speaking of pedal steel, when the Allendales broke one out, they sounded something like The Byrds minus the 12-string guitar… Before that, they took the three-guitar/keyboard Southern rock approach into alternative country. The result isn't quite the ‘country metal’ that guitarist Shaun Sparks shouted about on the street before the set. But it sure had a powerful punch.”
In 2012 The Allendales disbanded to pursue other ambitions and played their farewell show at the Zoo Bar as a part of the Lincoln Exposed festival. Casey Welsch from the Hear Nebraska community wrote: “I remained at the Zoo Bar for the Allendales, and unbeknownst to most, this was the last show they ever planned to play. And they rocked it. I had seen this band only once before, at some festival long past and at Knickerbockers. I hardly remembered what they sounded like, but when they took the stage, knowing it would be the last, they performed stunningly.
They had new ears and long-time fans alike in the audience, and they satisfied all. It was kind of a country punk, a bluesy rock, a Southern extravaganza that lent itself as well to bobbing along and drinking beer in a booth as it did to dancing a jig right in front of the stage. It was a fitting send-off to a well-played band. I’m glad to have been there.”
At this time the Allendales and Sparks’ sister group the Wounded Animals disbanded to together form a new and ambitious project called Largemouth. After a year of pursuing this project they decided to disband it and put the Allendales back together.
Reformation and Current Status
With Morton and Sparks combining their songs and collaborating on new songwriting, and with Ihrig on drums they formed the current lineup. The Allendales have stood the test of time and come out the other end as a band that is just about as much the same as they are entirely different. They are embracing the new sounds and songs they craft together, and are currently seeking bookings in Lincoln and surrounding areas.