MECHANIC FALLS — Peter Allen admits his life mirrors a country song, which could be why he was recently bestowed the Pioneer Award by the Down East Country Music Association, an award in recognition of his musical career and promotion of the genre. 

From inside the dimmed Silver Spur last week, Allen said that he’s married to the owner, DeeDee, and notes he has played there since the Mechanic Falls venue opened in 1985. He compares some of his wilder days to a milder version of the likes of Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, who Allen said “live life rough.”

“My life is a country song the way I’ve lived the whole d*** thing — the drinking and cheating comes to fruition,” Allen said with a smile.

But mostly those days are behind him as the 51-year-old Oxford resident said he is hitting the highlight of his career, which includes the recent Pioneer Award. He has been making music in some fashion for the past 43 years and says he’s as much a promoter as he is a performer.

“Now that I’m at (this) point in my career, I try to help young people along as well,” he said. “This day and age, we try to keep the country music going as much as we can. People my age don’t go out.”

Allen added that he thinks his brushes with fame might have helped him land the award.

“It doesn’t put a lot of money in your pocket … but if we can get people the best shows possible and promote the young guys who want to do this and get people excited about it, it’s worth it,” he said. 

One of his two bands, Hurricane Mountain, won a contest years ago and became the opening act for Ricky Skaggs, Hal Ketchum and Mary Chapin Carpenter, who had just been named best female vocalist of the year at Sugarloaf Mountain. His other band is Allen Tradition, comprised of the same members, but focusing on traditional country music instead of rock ‘n’ roll flair of Hurricane Mountain.

It was two years ago that he was inducted into the Maine Ole’Opry. Allen has also visited Nashville a couple of times, where he won three out of the five talent contests he entered. He sang alongside Noel Haggard — Merle’s son — and Clint Black’s band while down in the Country Music Capital of the World.

“That’s pretty friggin’ cool,” he said about the latter, once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Allen said he was nominated by members of the Down East Country Music Association and had no clue about the award, even if his wife, Dee Dee, did. He recalled his wife calling him while he was on his way to pick up lawn mower parts in Lewiston-Auburn, telling him he should really be at the Silver Spur that day in May.

“I was just caught off guard,” Allen said of receiving the award. “I didn’t realize it would be something like this. It is something to be proud of. I try to keep every accomplishment in check.”

Allen said he is a self-taught musician, noting his brother and uncle taught him a few chords on the guitar. Throughout school, Allen and his brother would throw a band together for whatever reason and play for their friends and beyond. During this time, he discovered he was more into the singing aspect of music-making.

“I strum that thing,” he said, motioning to his guitar on stage at the Silver Spur, “enough to fill some voids.”

Allen can pinpoint the precise start of his career and his love of country music. It all began when he was 8 years old and his uncle called him up on stage at Dance More in Baldwin to sing. He sang “Rub It In” and “Lucille” — and he hasn’t looked back since.

“Been a lot of places and on a lot of roads since,” he said. “At this age, to have the best band of my life — and I’ve had some pretty good ones — that’s pretty satisfying.”

[email protected] 

Upcoming shows for Hurricane Mountain

7 p.m. Friday, July 29, opening for the All-Star Country Weekend, the Silver Spur

7 p.m. Saturday, July 30, the Silver Spur

For more information, visit www.thesilverspurclub.com.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.