2011-06-15 / Features

Waltz-Astoria Showcases Local Talent

By Jill Parshley

Christopher AllenChristopher AllenHeadlining on June 17 at the Waltz-Astoria will be Jon Christopher Allen, who has played among an array of eclectic artists at Waltz-Astoria’s weekly ongoing open mic nights.

This is an artist whose album I cannot stop playing.  It’s an album you can get up and dance to, or sit down and cry to. I, along with his growing fan base in Astoria, am looking forward to seeing him perform an acoustic set of his new record at Waltz-Astoria, June 17 at 10 p.m. for their sixth-year anniversary.

“What I can tell you about Jon,” Waltz-Astoria Art Director Pedro Gonzalez said, “is that he is a loyal supporter of  Waltz, he’s got talent, one of the most polished singers we’ve had here and he puts out his emotions every time he performs. He is passionate and loves his music. We are grateful to have Jon perform here along with all of the artists who have supported us throughout the last six years.” To catch clips of his music, and/or purchase his CD or individual songs, visit http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/jonchristopher3. If you’d like to read his lyrics, visit www.reverbnation.com/jonchristophermusic.

When I asked Allen how he got started in music he said, "I spent a lot of time at my grandparents...and they had a guitar. The first time I started to play it I wrote a song, I was 13 or 14. I thought it was so much fun to write."

Regarding his background, Allen said, "My parents owned a café in New Hyde Park while I was growing up and I worked there sometimes with my two sisters. My parents were born and raised in the U.S., but my grandparents are from Anavriti, Greece, near Sparti. I don’t speak Greek. When I was a kid, my parents sent me to Greek school, but I hated it and I would sleep in class. I totally regret it now. 

"Growing up, I thought Cat Stevens was a genius and an amazing songwriter...I liked Queen, Harry Chapin, Billy Joel, and the Black Crowes. I was way into Counting Crows and Seal’s first record, and deep into Pearl Jam’s first record which I think is one of the best records ever, every song is perfect. Also, Sarah McLachlan and Joan Armatrading are incredible. Now, I like The Black Keys, Lynx, D’Angelo and Portishead. I think the Kings Of Leon are awesome.   Arcade Fire is great, they just won a Grammy which was really encouraging because it’s real music. I like electronic music too, like MGMT, it’s sick, it’s so good."

"Jon Christopher" is Allen's third album. He spent at least a year writing it. His first two records were “Heavy” and “Only Human” featuring musical contributions from distinguished musicians such as Manola Badrena, a jazz and latin percussionist who has worked with the Rolling Stones, Talking Heads and Weather Report; Mark Ambrosino, engineer and sessions drummer who has worked with Stevie Wonder and  Whitney Houston; and Dave Eggar, a cellist and pianist who has worked with Ornette Coleman, Pearl Jam and Josh Groban.

Allen will be performing at the Waltz-Astoria, 23-14 Ditmars Blvd., on June 17, 10 p.m. There is no cover charge, just a $10 food/drink minimum. His album will be on sale there for $10.  For more information, call 718-956-8742.

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