Monday, March 2, 2009

Allen Shamblin follows the dream

Tim Janecek and Allen Shamblin

Last night Allen Shamblin was inducted into the Texas Heritage Songwriters Hall of Fame. He gave big thanks to Tim Janecek, who was my sister's boyfriend back when I first met Allen. I was a bit of a wounded bird at the time--fresh out of college, no car, no job. I didn't much know what I wanted to do. Allen and Tim were appraising houses in Austin when Allen's sister spurred him to complete some songs he'd stored away in a closet. Thus began a journey that finds Allen now one of the top Nashville songwriters (his most famous song is probably "I Can't Make You Love Me," which Bonnie Raitt did).

Last night he walked out onto the stage of the Paramount Theater and thanked Tim, who was the guy with him in the lunch line at an Austin cafeteria when their conversation about Allen's first songs was overheard by a woman behind them. That encounter was the start of Allen's career. I'm honored to say I was the very first person to interview Allen back then. And I'm about to go dig up a tape I have of his second-ever performance before a live audience.

One thing Allen said last night as he sat on stage with fellow inductees Willie Nelson, Guy Clark and Michael Martin Murphey (wow!) struck home: somewhere down the line you've got to quit doing what you think you should be doing and do what you are driven to do. I'm still trying to move toward that...

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