Allen Karl Interview Part 2
by Donna Cunningham for Country Music News International
Donna Cunningham: You signed both Jim Ed and Jean Shepard to Century II. Was that a highlight of your Century II memories?
Allen Karl: Absolutely it was. And Jean was such a character. Being in the studio with her was always a fun time.
Donna Cunningham: When did you start Century II, any little story about that?
Allen Karl: I was the only artist on the label at the time but as time went on, I wanted to try to help other artists be heard. I knew I wasn’t Sony or RCA, etc., but I could do whatever I could do, so I got Century II noticed by independent radio stations, and it took off from there. I am very proud of the artists we have acquired.
Donna Cunningham: You had great success in Europe while working with Rafel Corbi. Tell us something about that.
Allen Karl: In 2011 my first big release with the European Country Music Association was my album My Final Rose. for which I was named Male Vocalist of the Year. Mr. Corbi flew from Spain to London England to present the awards to me .Later that year My song “Lonelies Only Bar” written by Jerry Foster was named Song of the Year and another Foster song “Butterflies was Song of the Year in 2012. A line dance was developed for that song and a world wide competition was held for line dance clubs around the world. I was very proud of that…a group from South Africa won the competition.
Donna Cunningham: Another great friend of yours is Jerry Foster. Please tell me how you came to record several of his songs.
Allen Karl: I met Jerry years ago at the Commodore in Nashville, TN. , We hit it off immediately and have remained good friends. I hadn’t recorded much before when I met him, and he gave me a list of songs I was welcome to record,” I thank you all the way to bank” he recently told me.…since then the friendship has only grown stronger.
Donna Cunningham: Another friend in the music industry is your friend, Bobby G. Rice. Where and when did the two of you meet? Almost 50 years is a long time to remain close. Why do you think that is?
Allen Karl: Bobby and I did shows back in the 70’s we hit it off from the beginning and I love his style and his manner of singing. To know Bobby is to know a true entertainer. In his quiet understated manner, he is a joy to know, be around and work with, a sweet man.
Donna Cunningham: Among all the Number 1’s and the various awards and halls of fame, of what are you the most proud, or what do you feel the most blessed to have received?
Allen Karl: The Native American Hall of Fame is dear to me, but each one is special to me. I was equally thrilled with each of them.
Donna Cunningham: Joe Eder was your right hand man for many years with Century II. What kind of manager was he?
Allen Karl: Joe was a very dedicated man, computer smart and he worked really hard to help accomplish whatever I needed. He went to Europe with me and always had my back. A life long friend I will always be grateful for having, he is truly a big part of my success.
Donna Cunningham: We lost Marty Martel earlier this year. He was a great friend. Can you say a couple words about him?
Allen Karl: Marty promoted me for many years and introduced me to you. He is sorely missed. Such an smart and fun guy.
Donna Cunningham: You are a very successful man, in all aspects of life. Please tell us a little about your family and your late wife Darlene who stood beside you for over 50 years.
ALLEN KARL : Darlene and I were together our whole lives since childhood. Our families were friends. We married and raised 3 girls and a boy. I am blessed to have a wonderful family. I now have 6 grandchildren and they along with my children are the center of my life. Darlene passed away in 2017, and I miss her every day. She was a wonderful wife and mother.
Donna Cunningham: Please give us your thoughts on traditional country music, where it’s been and where it’s headed, and why you have spent your time, trouble and money on “Keepin’ it Country”
Allen Karl: I grew up on traditional country music, admiring all the big stars who made it so special to me. It’s the only music I truly really love. I think its important to keep it alive because it tells stories, can make you laugh or cry. It touches people not only with the melodies but the words. I think it was George Jones who said that if it doesn’t tell a story that touches you in some way, it’s not country music. Its important to American history and our culture. I don’t know where it’s headed, but I know it will never die. Its great music and people will always need that.