Jamie Ray Allensworth grew up in Garden Grove, CA while spending much of his childhood with his grandmother in Potrero Hill, San Francisco. It was there on the corner of Missouri and 20th that he first found his love for singing. Local acapella groups would gather at the top of the hill and belt out songs by the Chi Lites, the Miracles, the Temps, and Gene Chandler. His mother, a seasoned soprano singer in her Samoan church choir and his stepfather always playing guitar and performing as a fire dancer for a well known Polynesian group, it’s no wonder that Jamie was singing, playing spoons, trying his hand at guitar and beating on anything that he could make noise with at a very young age. When he turned 5 his father, who was a part-time country and western performer, introduced him to his first drum set. From then on he became deeply influenced by his families appreciation of music and began to fall in love with a variety of musical styles and sounds.
Being the singer/songwriter frontman not only for Allensworth but also Natural Afrodisiac (aka Nafro), Jamie has become most recognized for his diverse sound heavily rooted from his admiration of soul and blues artists. Along with fellow band mates he has appeared and received several awards at the annual Orange County Music Awards Show including Best Live Acoustic Act of 2012, 2004 Best Live and Best Jam Band, and 2003 Best R&B Group. He has opened for funk pioneers such as James Brown, Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters, Maceo Parker and George Clinton. He has also shared the stage with musical greats such as Prince, Stevie Wonder, Alice Russell, Little Dragon, and Allen Stone; Hip Hop acts Floetry, Medusa, Ozomatli, and Everlast; as well as Reggae greats Steel Pulse, Yellowman, and Eek a Mouse.
In late 2007, Jamie found himself in the studio preparing for his first solo album. He gathered a few of his Nafro band mates along with other musicians he had met over the years and created the solo project “Allensworth”. Although a fairly new project, the members have been performing and recording together for well over a decade. Nafro, the Rebirth, Breakestra, Soulhustlers, and Leparis Nervosa are among a few of the projects each band member stems from. Allensworth strongly conveys their knowledge and importance of live music through each performance. Known to captivate and move any audience, this band thrives on showmanship through infectious rhythms, clever word play, and soulful grooves. Always pushing the musical envelope, Allensworth continues to grow his fan base turning anyone within earshot into a loyal enthusiast of his craft.
With the sophomore album releasing January 2013 along with the impressive responses from live performances in the US and Australia, Allensworth is set to make their mark in 2013.
******** ALLENSWORTH IN THE PRESS & REVIEWS ********
OC REGISTER: In high school Allensworth and Gonzales formed the Junk Yard Band, creating percussion out of whatever was available, even splitting five-gallon Sparkletts jugs in half. Friends would rhyme over whatever they’d produce. Eventually they found a bassist, guitarist and drummer and formed Natural Afrodisiac in 1995.More than a decade later Allensworth found himself in a home recording studio in Tarzana where he was one of several musicians working on the short-lived ABC sitcom Cavemen, based on then-famous GEICO commercial characters. Between devising ditties for the show, he worked on his debut solo record, despite distractions in the recording house.“There were just too many things to keep you from working – a barbeque and a pool,” he says. “It was Tarzana, so there wasn’t much to really look at, but I don’t recommend trying to record an album while living in a place like that and writing music for a TV show.”Against the Grain is much simpler, he says. Most of it was written while visiting friends in Montana and while on tour in Australia and then recorded in the band’s space in Huntington Beach, Seafoam Studios.“It’s kind of a trippy setting where you have this beautiful ocean but you look to the left and there are these big stacks,” Allensworth says. “I kinda feel like that had something to do with the writing, too – like here’s this beautiful nature but you feel all congested, even though it’s supposedly just steam coming out of those stacks.”The majority of the album, however, is about love. “I’m a sucker for a love song,” he says shyly. “(They) just seem to resonate with what was going on in my life at the time.” - By KELLI SKYE FADROSKI READ MORE
LA Examiner: The music of Allensworth is referred to as “soCal feelgood music.” If you gave me a couple days, maybe I could come up with a genre label as good as that one. But why bother? SoCal feelgood music is the perfect description for this band. It is part soul and part rock, but more than anything this is music that just begs to be played on a sunny day or around a beach bonfire. Granted, most of the country isn’t getting a lot of sunny days right now. That’s fine, because this is also good music to help you forget how cold it might be outside. Most of the songs are a pretty easygoing combination of singer-songwriter stuff and soul. Then comes “Thunder.” Mind you this is a pretty easygoing song, but this one sounds like it was influenced by Parliament and Funkadelic. The bass is definitely from the funk school while the guitar has a sort of psychedelic sound to it. It’s a nice changeup.”Thunder” is followed by “5 Dimes.” When you hear this song (yes, even if you’re in your car), you’ll probably want to hold up a lighter and sway back and forth. Until about halfway through the song, that is. It goes from this mellow slow jam to the bridge that sounds like it was influenced by Led Zeppelin back to the slow jam that seems like a hybrid of Seth Walker and Flying Burrito Brothers. Allensworth writes a fine song and his music has a way of putting you in a good mood. If you need some music to get you through the long gray days of winter, pick up Against the Grain – Gary Schwind LA Examiner
OC WEEKLY: Allensworth: Huntington Beach group Allensworth generated a steamy funk-soul brew of impressive intensity and dexterity. It was damned exciting. So when I popped Allensworth’s Broken Leaves into the player, I expected heat, a sound somewhere between early War (they cover “Slippin’ Into Darkness” with righteous nuance) and peak-time Average White Band. Instead, the disc radiates a mellow amber glow, a post-coital languor that’s more about pillow talk than dance-floor maneuvers. Which is cool, but I think Allensworth excel at the party-rockin’ funk that is a raucous prelude to the bedroom and (one hopes) the post-coital pillow talk. The 11 tracks on Broken Leaves will provide your recommended yearly amount of positive vibes in 41 minutes. Front man Jamie Allensworth has the sort of warm, extroverted personality and burnished, raw-soul vox that earn him the right to name the group after himself. (Allensworth’s membership includes folks from Nafro and Liparis Nervosa.) ”Standing in Line” sets the album’s tone: a downtempo, easy-going lope of a song that’s as welcoming as the gradual embrace of a lover after a hard day of work; it’s something you can imagine Al Green nodding his head in appreciation to. “Let It Rain”—which isn’t the Eric Clapton classic, but Allensworth could probably do it justice—exudes a Style Council-esque air of peppy yet casual soulfulness, a glinting optimism. “Stay Inside” and “411″ are lilting, romantic numbers geared for wooing and doing—and maybe ruing. “Push Me Off” is the album’s most scorching funk track, evoking Curtis Mayfield’s Superfly (high praise, indeed). Allensworth show reverence for the grand soul-music tradition, but not obsequiously so. They realize that this is their raison d’être, and they simply get the job done with prodigious skill and deep feeling. - By DAVE SEGAL
KROQ LA/CBS RADIO: “I just know it’s the only thing I can 100% express myself through and it’s the only thing that gives me the gratification that I need…I know that’s what I’ll be doing until I’m gone. “The older I get, the more mellow I get,” said Jamie Allensworth, frontman to the delicately-ripened raw-funk band based in Huntington Beach called Allensworth.The man of the same last name is sitting outside. Through the phone I can hear birds singing; the sunshine seems to push through the technology into my windowless office.Allensworth encourages me to “go outside” and “enjoy this beautiful day,” a sentiment evident in the soulful amber-toned timbre of his voice that has echoes of a duskier Curtis Mayfield or the surprisingly upbeat, yet lovelorn lyrics.Just like he is trying to construct the beauty of my day, Allensworth is constructing through his music a living sonic synesthesia of sound, light, and feeling.
Despite the name of the band, Allensworth (as a band) was a name that Allensworth (the man) was talked into. Other members of the band, or as they call themselves in a bio, a “collective septet” include Anthony Gonzales (percussion, vocals), Paul Clark(woodwinds, keys), Johnny Baldaray (bass, vocals), Patrick Bailey(guitar), and Tom Plumb(drums.) The radiant positivity and organic emotional landscapes created by Allensworth (from here on out, the collective), is partially because of Jamie’s penchant for the great outdoors.
Sublimating his experience as a “skater kid from Orange County”into his music has brought on an appreciation for other outdoor activities like getting “back in touch with nature. Camping, hiking, snowboarding, and surf.”Part of his writing process, or artistic process in general, includes going to Yosemite, which Jamie has been doing since he was 15-years-old.
“I’ll hike up Half Dome or I know all these little spots–a couple places we call Fantasy Island and stuff…That’s pretty much one of my inspirational spots,” Jamie explained. “I find whenever I get these gems, it’s just from alone time somewhere in the forest…or sitting on the beach. These are the times when it’s just quiet and all you can hear are the birds.””I’d much rather stay in Montana and get into it.”Jamie continued, describing a situation that is all too familiar to most city dwellers, “It’s the time when I can really dig deep and figure out what’s going on instead of sitting in a room with the neighbors in Apartment C cracking up to whatever they’re watching on TV.“Allensworth just got back from the wild, natural terrain of Australia and Jamie said that the band is contemplating recording a “concept album” with songs “linked together with instrumental interludes” at a studio in the middle of nowhere in Montana similarly to Bon Iver, who recorded his debut album in a cabin in Wisconsin, or Feist, who recorded her latest album in a barn.Jamie explained that he was “tending to gravitate more towards being away from the city in terms of recording rather than stuck in the hustle bustle, rolling into L.A., or Laurel Canyon, and sitting in traffic just because you want to track a couple of songs. I’d much rather stay in Montana and get into it”. - By NADIA NOIR
OC WEEKLY: “It only took a few sharp, electric twangs from Allensworth’s guitar to reel in the energy of the half-drunk masses. It was the kind of crowd that could potentially tare the house down to the heavy tones of brass, bass and congas rumbling inside the opening verse of “Push Me Off,” one of their opening tunes. Needless to say, shit got crazy really quick.” - By ALBERT CHING
ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: “Allensworth, obviously titled after its bushy and bearded leader, came together four years ago, comprised of musicians who split time in multiple soul, funk and blues acts locally, including Breakestra, Soul Hustlers, Nafro, the Rebirth and Leparis Nervosa, to mention a few.” - By KELLI SKYE FADROSKI