BEST BETS: Milton’s Jimmie Allen revved for Dover race concert

Country singer Jimmie Allen, of Milton, will perform a free concert Sunday morning at 11:15 at Dover International Speedway’s Victory Plaza prior to the running of the Gander Outdoors 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoff race. (Submitted photo)

Jimmie Allen says he needs to start another bucket list.

Although he admits his first one was short, the Milton-born country singer has already checked the items off or will later this year.

“They were to play the Delaware State Fair, the Grand Ole Opry and the Rusty Rudder or Bottle & Cork,” he said by phone Tuesday afternoon from his home in Nashville, Tennessee.

“I know to most people, they don’t seem important but to me they are super important. A lot of singers would probably put Madison Square Garden on the list but for me, it’s state fair, Opry and the Rudder or Cork.”

The 33-year-old Mr. Allen first played the Grand Ole Opry in May, the state fair in August and will hit the Rusty Rudder in Dewey Beach in December for two sold-out shows to benefit Rehoboth Elementary School.

For good measure, he played the Bottle & Cork last summer.

He comes back to Delaware Sunday for a free concert at Dover International Speedway’s Victory Plaza starting at 11:15 a.m. That will be prior to the 2 p.m. Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Gander Outdoors 400.

 

Although not on his bucket list, performing at the Dover track is still pretty cool for him.

“I wasn’t a big NASCAR fan growing up but my grandfather is. The big thing I always remember about NASCAR weekends were to stay out of Dover because of all that traffic,” he said.

He won’t be able to stay for the race as he has a concert in New Hampshire that night.

But it’s been that kind of year for him. After working to make himself known in Nashville for the last decade, 2018 has been a busy one.

His debut album, “Mercury Lane,” named after the Milton street where he grew up, will be released Oct. 12 and he’ll make his national TV debut on the “Today” show Tuesday morning.

His first single off “Mercury Lane,” “Best Shot,” debuted as the second-most added on country radio and is currently 16th on the country charts.

Local fans were excited to see him this summer at the Delaware State Fair where he supported Toby Keith’s Interstates & Tailgates Tour throughout the country.

He was happy to see them as well.

“I remember going to the state fair a lot as a kid. It was the thing to do in the summer,” he said.

“The good thing about the fair is that it’s not super expensive and it’s all about the family. You got to play games and you just had to eat funnel cake. It was a fair staple.”

He said he discovered late last year that the tour would take him to Harrington.

“I was super excited when I found out. To play in Delaware with a guy that I used to listen to while growing up in Delaware was pretty crazy,” he said.

The night before the fair show, he joined country star Jake Owen for a song during Mr. Owen’s concert at Hudson Fields in Milton.

Mr. Allen said the two are great friends.

“We actually flew in to Delaware together. We landed at (Delaware Coastal Airport in Georgetown) and I immediately took him fishing in Lewes before the show. He knew I was coming to the show and said that I couldn’t be in my hometown and not get up there and sing. That was a blast,” he said.

Mr. Allen said he loved the experience at Hudson Fields and was excited to know that his hometown now has a venue such as that.

“When I was a kid there was no real outlet to be a musician and I really had no shows to go to. I always thought ‘Why can’t we do more here with all of this property?’ I’m glad that they’ve really stepped it up down there,” he said.

In his debut at the Grand Ole Opry, he earned a rare standing ovation.

“It’s really hard to put into words how it felt to be on that stage. It was just awesome,” said Mr. Allen, who is set for a return engagement at the Opry tonight along with singer Chris Young and others.

While this year has seen his star rising, it began its ascent in 2017.

His self-titled debut EP came out in October, earning him praise from critics and he was included on Billboard’s “Artists to Watch 2018,” Pandora’s annual “Country Artists to Watch” for 2018 and Sounds Like Nashville’s “13 New Country Artists to Watch in 2018,” among others.

He also rolled out the “Slower Lower Sessions,” a collection of songs that reminded him of growing up in Sussex County. The video for the title track, filmed in Sussex County, is filled with his family, friends and fans.

He can often be seen in a Slower Lower hat and talks up the area as much as he can. For him, it’s the honesty and closeness that the area affords him that just can’t be beat.

“They don’t feed you a bunch of BS. My family always wanted to support my dream but they were smart enough, that when I wanted to sing when I was younger, they would say ‘You’re not good enough yet.’ They instilled that work ethic in me to get better and to put the work in,” he said.

“That’s where family comes in. To support you in whatever career you choose but not to give you a lot of smoke and mirrors to get the best version out of yourself.”

When it came time to name his first album, he had already planned it way in advance. He knew “Mercury Lane” had to be it.

“Everything I was taught was taught to me on Mercury Lane. It’s what’s the album is all about. Life, love, the importance of being patient. It’s everything that embodied Mercury Lane,” he said.

His roots on that road and many others in Sussex were planted early at H.O. Brittingham Elementary in Milton. Those roots are still strong today as he keeps in touch with his kindergarten and first-grade teachers.

He still refers to them as “Miss (Mary Beth) Alexander” and “Miss (Deborah) Sharp.”

“I’m all about relationships and creating that bond. Over the years we’ve just stayed in contact. When I am in town I’ve always made it a point to come back and visit and they’ve come to see me,” he said.

Ms. Alexander, now known and Mary Beth Adair, was even in the audience for his debut at the Opry.

The two shows at the Rusty Rudder to benefit Rehoboth Elementary School sold out in two days. While he’s happy that folks are interested in hearing him sing, he thinks that says more about the area than it does him.

Jimmie Allen’s debut album “Mercury Lane” will be released Oct. 12. His national television debut is set for Tuesday on the “Today” show. (Submitted photo_

“I’m sure some are coming just to see me. But it makes me feel great to know that the money is going to the school where my little cousin goes and people are willing to invest in the community like they are,” he said.

The two concerts are expected to raise at total of $20,000. Mr. Allen said he will keep it going annually. Next year, his concerts will benefit H.O. Brittingham and the following year will be Shields Elementary in Lewes.

“And we’ll keep that cycle going,” he said.

Later in the month, he’ll hit another first when he performs in the United Kingdom for a string of shows supporting Kane Brown.

On Nov. 29 he starts a U.S. tour with Scotty McCreery, who ended up winning Season 10 of “American Idol” in which Mr. Allen got cut just before the Top 24.

He said he’s ready to get back out on the road to continue his musical journey.

“Everything really seems to be coming together right now. I’m looking forward to keep working and creating new milestones for myself,” he said.

This weekend’s Dover NASCAR tripleheader also includes the Bar Harbor 200 presented by Sea Watch International NASCAR Xfinity Series playoff race on Saturday and the Crosley 125 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race today.

For tickets or more information on Monster Mile events throughout the weekend, call (800) 441-RACE or visit DoverSpeedway.com.

‘Rumpelstiltskin’ in Milford

This weekend, Second Street Players Children’s Theater presents “Rumpelstiltskin” by Peg Herring based on the fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm.

Performance dates are today through Sunday. Curtain is at 7 p.m. for the Friday and Saturday shows and 2 p.m. for the Sunday show. All performances will be held at The Riverfront Theater, 2 S. Walnut St., Milford.

Tickets are $5 for children and $10 for adults. Tonight’s performance is pay what you can.

Tickets can be purchased at the door only. For more information, visit secondstreetplayers.com.

McDermott to play Sunroom

On Saturday, Chris McDermott will play the Sunroom Songwriters House Concert Series in Dover at 7 p.m.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m., light refreshments provided. Suggested donation is $10 to $15.

Mr. McDermott is a busy musician playing all over America, Europe and the Caribbean for over 25 years.

He is a guitarist, singer, songwriter and producer born in Delaware to British parents and based in Boston.

Contact nmaliwes@icloud.com for directions and more information.

Wings & Wheels

The Wings & Wheels festival is this weekend in Georgetown.

Things kick off today with Pathways to Aviation Day where 125 high school students will spend the day at the Delaware Coastal Airport learning from aviation experts. The featured speaker for Education Day is Joe Edwards, NASA shuttle commander.

This evening, Kathie Martin & The Hot Rods will take the stage for the Fabulous 50’s Greasers Ball which is held in a hangar at the Delaware Coastal Airport. Additional entertainment for the evening will include a hula-hoop contest, “twist” contest, and awards for best costume. Ticket price is $50 per person and includes dinner from Lighthouse Catering.

Saturday’s free event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m beginning with an opening ceremony including the national anthem and presentation of colors by the Sussex Central ROTC Color Guard.

Events at the airport throughout the day include a vintage aircraft fly-in, car show, featured speakers, live entertainment, and craft & food vendors. 2018 will also see the return of the Flour Bombing Competition at 2 p.m. as well as the official Naval Academy Parachute Team.

For car show registration information, or to purchase tickets for the Fabulous 50s Greasers Ball, visit the Wings & Wheels website at http://www.wings-wheels.com or call the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce at (302) 856-1544.

Lafayette W. Bell Sr., left, of Houston, and Casper Roberts are featured in the short “School Bus of the Dead Zombie.” It is available now on YouTube. (Submitted photo)

Scary short

Just in time for Halloween, LaFayette W. Bell Sr. aka “Sgt. Bell the Rapper” of Houston has produced the short film “School Bus of the Dead Zombie,” which can be now be seen on YouTube.

The 13-minute, 27-second horror film was written and directed by Mr. Bell and shot across Kent County.

He also stars along with Casper Roberts and Phet Rock.

Mr. Bell, who was a background actor in last season’s “House of Cards,” on Netflix, is back again for the upcoming season and is prominent on episodes 2 and 6.

Now showing

New this weekend in theaters is the remake of “A Star is Born” with Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga; the drama “Shine” and Tom Hardy in the sci-fi fantasy “Venom.”

New on DVD and download starting Tuesday is the animated “Hotel Transylvania 3,” Dwayne Johnson in “Skyscraper” and the critically acclaimed film “Eighth Grade.”

To share news of your entertainment group, venue or event, contact Craig Horleman at 741-8224 or chorl@newszap.com.

Reach features editor Craig Horleman at chorl@newszap.com

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