Gary Allen, age 70, passed away peacefully in Brandon, Mississippi on October 4, 2022.
He was preceded in death by his mother, Vivian Edna Gaines (Allen) Barrett; father William G. "Dub" Allen; and brother Mike Allen. Survivors include fiancée Frankcine Harvey; sister Rhonda Allen Hall (Steve Hall); brother Jason Allen; nephews Clifton Allen, Travis Allen, Chad Allen; and niece Francis Allen.
Gary was a fun-loving, good-hearted person known for his infectious laugh and his ability to bring the house down with his sense of humor. He was also a talented musician and toured the world as drummer for the Charlie Daniels Band, Push, J.J. Cale, and others.
He was born in Nashville, Tennessee, and grew up on Pillow Street near the Tennessee State Fairgrounds until his parents moved to Couchville Pike in the Donelson area. He attended Donelson Elementary and Donelson High School. During the summers his parents ran the popular water park Pine Springs Resort, where he spent much time listening to music on the jukebox and watching live bands, growing his love for music.
A huge fan of The Beatles, Gary put together homemade drum kits using whatever he could find - including coffee cans which he would paint different colors - and quickly developed a talent for drumming. With some of his high school friends, he eventually formed the band Lightning Kite which played several gigs around Nashville. Just a few years later, Gary was touring the country as drummer for the Charlie Daniels Band. He played at the very first Volunteer Jam and on several albums for the Charlie Daniels Band, including "Way Down Yonder" and the band's famed breakthrough album "Fire on the Mountain," for which Gary received a platinum album.
Gary and two of his Charlie Daniels bandmates later formed Push, a popular Nashville-based rock band which performed at such events as Hermitage Landing's "One for the Sun" and the WKDF 8th Anniversary Concert. Push was known for their rollicking, high-energy live shows, and they received rave reviews in such publications as Billboard magazine and The Tennessean newspaper.
In the 1980's, Gary became drummer for legendary country/blues songwriter J.J. Cale and played on two of Cale's albums while touring the world. Over the years, Gary also played drums for such artists as Leon Russell and Stonewall Jackson, and spent many years as an in-demand Nashville session player. More recently, he co-hosted Nashville's popular Play It Again Jam, which brought together talented area musicians on a weekly basis for jam sessions. During this period he also used such programs as Sonicbids contests to help discover and promote new and up-and-coming musicians, and he wrote and edited the monthly "Music City Beat" newsletter.
Gary and Frankcine moved to Brandon, Mississippi in 2019, where Gary - an avid animal over - used his influence to help animals in need, helping to find homes for them and providing food for many rescue animals and shelters.
In his time on this earth, Gary reached many people with his art and music, found countless ways to help people and animals in need, and spread much joy and laughter, always searching for opportunities to make people happy and touch lives. His family and friends will miss his energy and his kindness and his laughter, but they will surely recall his unique spirit often and with fondness -- and perhaps even use those remembrances to touch the lives of others.