Hit Country Songwriter Harley Allen Dead at 55

Singer-songwriter Harley Lee Allen died Wednesday (March 30) of cancer at his home in Nashville at age 55. His father was the late bluegrass singer Harley “Red” Allen. The younger Allen established himself musically in the 1980s via such albums as Across the Blueridge Mountains (released on Smithsonian Folkways in 1983, reissued in 2010) and Suzanne with Mike Lilly (Smithsonian Folkways, 1985 and 2007). In 1996, he released the country album Another River on PolyGram, which yielded no chart singles, and in 2001 Live at the Bluebird on the American Originals label. It was as a country songwriter, however, that Allen had his greatest successes, beginning in 1997 with Alan Jackson’s No. 2 recording of “Between the Devil and Me.” Then came such hits as “The Little Girl” (John Michael Montgomery, 2000), “The Baby” (Blake Shelton, 2002), “My Last Name” (Dierks Bentley, 2003), “Tough Little Boys” (Gary Allan, 2003), “Awful Beautiful Life” (Darryl Worley, 2004), “If Nobody Believed in You” (Joe Nichols, 2004) and “I’ll Wait for You” (Joe Nichols, 2006). Allen is survived by his wife, two daughters and a son.