Cody Allen – “IGNITE” CD Release Party

May 6th, 2015 by  |  Published in Concerts

Cody Allen - CD Release at Irene's Pub

From left to right: Jeff Logan (guitar), Cody Allen (vocals/acoustic guitar), Steve Foley (drums), and Rob Toth (bass), perform on the Irene’s stage.

North Bay native, Cody Allen definitely set the room ablaze on Saturday night, as he unleashed his latest effort, “IGNITE” to a packed house at Irene’s Pub. With the help of his accomplished band members, Jeff Logan (electric guitar), Rob Toth (bass), and producer, Steve Foley (drums), Allen offered up a set of well over an hour’s worth of material, which also included tracks from his previous three albums.

Cody Allen was introduced to the guitar at an early age, when his dad brought one home from a pawn shop and enrolled him in lessons. From there, the passion sparked, and he would play every single chance he got. His early influences came out of the grunge era, with bands like Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins, and Nirvana.

“I looked up to Kurt Cobain’s persona as an icon…how he wasn’t conforming to what was typical at the time…he did his own thing, and that really appealed to me.”

He was also influenced by the classic, contemporary and folk rock music his parents listened to, which would later attribute to the rounded out flavours in his own songwriting. In 2011, Allen made the big move to Ottawa, where although he faced some preliminary hurdles during the first couple years of life in the big city, it didn’t take him long to infiltrate the social music scene, and to prove himself as a serious musician and songwriter.

Cody Allen - CD Release at Irene's Pub

Singer, guitarist, and songwriter, Cody Allen.

IGNITE is a themed album of six strategically placed tracks that tell the story of coming out of a bleak period which involved the breakup of his former band and the death of his grandmother. But it was through her passing that uncovered a fresh attitude, a more positive view of his life, and sparked an even stronger drive to press on.

“This new album is about persevering and not letting go. I went through a lot of experiences and ups and downs…lots of downs, actually. It took a lot to make this record. I went against the grain of what’s popular to do my own thing. But it was after the death of my grandmother that gave me the insight to push myself out of the dark.”

Cody Allen began the show appropriately with, “Heart Of A Lion”, the first track from the new album. Its strong flowing melody and rhythm delivered an equally strong message of believing in oneself. Logan drove some wailing textures through his synth pedal on guitar, while Toth and Foley brought flourishes of double-timed rhythms on bass and drums to bring the song into an energetic rush. Allen’s fresh bright voice cut through the material with passion and fearlessness.

Next off the album, came “Easy”, which offered a contrast in its slower-paced, beautiful swaying rhythm, touched with a country-rock feel. The song grew steadily, adding layers of instruments, but kept its gentle rocking motion.

Similarly in “No Need To Worry”, a song written in ode to his grandmother, it too began with a bare-boned intro of Allen’s voice and acoustic guitar, then kicked into a steady, slightly rockier groove. Touching words of “Tell me that you’ll always love me…there’s no need to worry…I’ll be alright”, were sung directly from the heart, repetitively, and brought to an emotional crescendo, as if he was delivering this message of reassurance more to himself at this point. I have to admit, this one got to me.

“Fire”, admittedly one of Allen’s favourites, started out with a rich, tribal beat and into a great blues/rock melody, that included some great haunting tones and a fantastic solo by Logan. By this time, there were plenty of people on the dance floor who remained there the rest of the night.

“Rush Of Blood”, which was released as the first single off the album, was my personal favourite of the evening. I was instantly taken with the opening minor chords, as the song wound its way into wonderful rhythm changes and beautiful melodies. This was a brilliantly textured piece that fell into lush half-timed choruses and finished with some drum roll magic by Foley before the song ended in a quiet hush.

The final song of the evening, as is the final track of the album, was another amazingly textured song, “Headstrong”, which flowed from one passage to the next as it grew in intensity toward the end. I enjoyed its flavours of modern-meets-country rock edginess and colourful ambient accents.

The set was also peppered with some of Allen’s great material from the past. The talented and well-rehearsed band brought the dynamics of the music to their fullest. From the great rocking energy of “Switch” (All Is Not Lost – 2011) to the great walking beat of “One Thing After Another” (We Know How To Love – 2009), Cody Allen ensnared the audience with his highly seasoned and well-written compositions that travel through colourful and rootsy tones of rock, folk, and country.

IGNITE will be released Tuesday, May 5 on iTunes, Ottawa Folklore Centre, and at local record stores in Ottawa.

For more information on Cody Allen’s tour dates, please visit

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