Features January 30, 2024

Casper Allen: The Honesty of a Broken Voice

by Landon Ungerman

Casper Allen’s Wild Ride

In the ink-stained tapestry of Casper Allen’s life, the meanings behind his tattoos, even the regretful ones, serve as a vivid narrative of his crazy journey. “I like that the not-so-good tats are there because they remind me of where I’ve been, and my favorite ones, my wife’s name and mom’s name, remind me of where I’m at now,” Casper reflects. The Colorado-based singer-songwriter has a story to tell– one of addiction and destruction and the healing that followed, and he’s narrating it with guitar strums and rugged vocals.

The tale begins with a childhood immersed in the rhythm of West Texas, a place steeped in the legacy of rock and roll. “I started playing guitar with my Papa,” Casper shares, reminiscing on the summer spent playing church songs with his grandpa. He recalls the pivotal moment when his papa handed him his first guitar—a humble piece-of-crap toy that would become the vessel for his musical passion.

Casper Allen photographed by Jason Alfaro of Right Eye Media

Broken Pianos and Smashed Guitars

Starting with the echoes of his grandfather’s affinity for artists like Buddy Holly, Casper’s introduction to music unfolded through an eclectic mix of genres. From Elvis’ Love Songs record to the Beatles, his family’s record collection became a treasure trove of inspiration. “I loved music from artists that people my age had no idea about from as far back as I can remember,” he muses. The grit of Texas’ emerging hip-hop and punk scenes during Caspers highschool days rounded out his palette and shaped pieces of his artistry that he’s carried with him ever since.

The road to Denver, where Casper currently calls home, was a rocky one. Before finding solace in the Mile High City, he was consumed by addiction. “Before COVID, I was touring 200-250 days a year,” he confesses. “I relapsed hard once quarantine hit. I burned every bridge that I came to. I gave up on music. I smashed my guitar, I broke a piano. I hung it all up.” 

Ammends, Apologies & Honesty

Around the same time, he made a trip out to Denver for a funeral, where he found not only refuge but also love. “Faith, sobriety, fatherhood, and a partnership with my wife have become big, rewarding parts of my life,” he reflects, a testament to the ongoing pursuit of being a better person for everyone around him. For Casper, the past couple years have been a journey of making amends to friends and fans alike, and he’s been able to do that on tour.

As the curtain of honesty rises, Casper’s perspective on performance undergoes a profound shift. “A big part of my fan-base struggles with substances currently or they’re recovering,” he acknowledges. This realization prompts him to approach his art with newfound sincerity, breaking down the barrier between performer and audience. “It’s nice to come at it from an angle of honesty this time,” he adds, emphasizing the importance of being a person to the audience, not some glorified, untouchable creature on a stage. “​​I’m spending a lot of time trying to be of service to others, when in the past I’ve been an over-indulgent, self-serving person.”

“My life falls to pieces whenever I put down a guitar and pick-up a crack-pipe. I don’t want to stray from music again.”

Music becomes the anchor in Casper’s journey to sobriety. “When I’m playing music, I’m a better father, husband, and friend,” he confesses. From the memories of that first toy guitar, to the angst of the one he destroyed, every strum and pluck now serve as a lifeline, keeping him grounded in moments of vulnerability. 

Casper Allen photographed by Jason Alfaro of Right Eye Media

Lo-Fi Love Songs

His latest single, 77/64/83 (For Elisabeth), is a testament to the sanctuary he’s found in his rock, Elisabeth, telling a love story through the three cars they’ve purchased in their time together, one of which having blown up on Colfax after selling it. His next single, Pawn Shop Hero, set to release on February 5th, is about how Casper lost his favorite gun and guitar at the pawn shop.

In a nod to the old-school, Casper’s recording approach embraces lo-fi aesthetics. “It’s all run through tape, recorded old-school,” he shares. The raw, grainy, and low-fidelity sound harks back to the days when he recorded songs on a 4-track tape recorder in high school. When asked about what inspired his rough, powerful vocal delivery, he replied, “There’s a saying that goes, ‘You can’t play the blues on a guitar that’s never been pawned.’ I kinda feel that way about my voice. I took the beatings in life, and when I came back to singing, my voice was what it was.”

Join Casper’s Journey

Casper Allen has ambitious plans for this year. On February 26th, a full-length album titled Short Stories comes out, followed by 2 EPs and another album later in the year. The styles range from electric blues to honky-tonk, with every release transcending sonic and emotional boundaries.

As the story of Casper Allen unfolds, it becomes clear that his journey is not just about music—it’s a testament to resilience, redemption, and the transformative power of art. In the echoes of his melodies and the tales etched in ink, Casper Allen finds his voice, inviting listeners to join him in recovery through music.

Catch Casper Allen Live at The Black Buzzard in Denver on 2/1 and at Oskar Blues Colorado Springs on 2/2. Tickets available at bandwagonpresents.com