Jay Allen Releases Debut Album, ‘Des Moines’

Music Spotlight artist Jay Allen released his debut album, Des Moines named after his hometown. Inspired by a moment that happened 11 years ago, Allen takes listeners through the experience of leaving Iowa to pursue his music career in his new home in Nashville, Tennessee—this well-thought-out project looks at divorce, grief, healing, and growth.

Allen’s new album follows his recent releases, including “No Present Like the Time,” a tune he wrote when his mom endured early-onset Alzheimer’s. The track is included on his debut record and is on country radio to serve as a beacon of hope for those facing their struggles. “Blank Stares” was also inspired by his mother’s journey.

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Music Spotlight: Britnee Kellogg

Britnee Kellogg grew up listening to all the good stuff: Waylon, Willie, Dolly, and 90s country. But it was when she was just six years old that her life was profoundly impacted. She attended a Johnny Cash and June Carter-Cash concert. Smitten from the first note, the young girl knew she had found her chosen career.

“I knew that [singing] was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” she recalled.

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Music Spotlight: Orlando Mendez

 I’ll admit that I don’t watch music competition shows like I did when I was younger. When I watch TV, it’s usually a mind-numbing procedural or mystery.

But thankfully, a lot of the people I interview got their start on a show and if they are country, they often find their way into my email inbox. Because the competition is so fierce, most of the artists pitched to me are outstanding performers. Orlando Mendez is one such artist and I feel privileged to tell his story.

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Music Spotlight: Tyler Reese Tritt

When I received information about Tyler Reese Tritt, I knew she belonged to someone famous (Travis Tritt is her dad). But what mattered to me was whether she could sing.

The answer is a resounding “yes.” Tyler Reese Tritt sings as naturally as many of us breathe. She said that her dad got her the Disney Princess videos when she was a tot, and her mother added that she would run around the house in her diaper singing “Part of Your World” from The Little Mermaid.

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Music Spotlight: Pat Boone

Many know I love the history of American music. My husband and I enjoy documentaries about the various singers/bands who create the soundtrack of our lives. We can’t even tell our stories without including the popular songs that we remember and love.

Pat Boone is one of the most beloved pop artists of the 20th century. At age 89, he was a favorite of my parents. His daughter, Debby Boone, was popular when I was growing up.

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Music Spotlight: Jay Allen

When rising artist Jay Allen debuted the song “No Prayer Like Mama’s,” I knew this was the artist I wanted to feature for Mother’s Day Weekend. To be honest, the lyrics just wreck me, and I suppose that is what a good country song does.

Allen grew up in a little Midwest town in Iowa where his dad owned a restaurant called Joe’s Country Grill. That’s where his dad met his mother when she was a waitress. Because they both worked at the restaurant, Allen spent much of his younger years there.

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Music Spotlight: Aliyah Good

I remember Jamie O’Neal telling me that her 17-year-old daughter accompanied her when she re-released her mega-hit “Somebody’s Hero.”

Now, O’Neal’s daughter, Aliyah Good is 19 and is pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Professional Studies at the Frost School of Music in Miami. And while she is first to admit that going to school while pursuing an artist’s career is quite the juggle, she is fortunate enough to attend a university that understands what she is doing. Frost School has programs for people like Good who are college students who want to get an education but also want to pursue their careers.

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