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Friday, August 28, 2009

Kris Allen: Homegrown Talent (Front Porch cover story)

Kris Allen is in many respects an all-American kid from the south, who grew up around fireflies and campfires.

So, it’s no surprise that a few of his favorite past-times include camping, swimming and hiking Pinnacle Mountain, one of the states most popular attractions.

“We have that nature thing going,” Allen said. “I’ve always loved that about the state.”

The organic, earthy charm of this American Idol superstar has deep roots. He is a true native. Born in Jacksonville, he lived there until the age of 16 before relocating to nearby Conway. One could say he’s holding onto the folks in this state, the way tree sap sticks to the hand. That’s a dedication that’s hard to find.

His memories are sweet and robust. They include trips to nearby lakes, playing baseball games and vast amounts of time devoted to music.

“My dad was a musician, and he had a tremendous influence on me,” Allen said. “There was always music in our house.”

Its effect made Allen want to play. He took up the viola at age 9. He credits his success with that instrument to his music teacher Jim Hatch.

Read the full Front Porch article (pages 6-9)

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