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ALLEN, JAMIE - The Storyteller ( Autographed ! )

When it comes to music, originality has never been much of a factor for me. My thinking has always been that if a song is great it is great, regardless of who it sounds like. But where does one draw the line between imitating and becoming an outright copycat? You could argue endlessly over how an artist crosses that line, but there is no denying that Jamie Allen has vaulted over it with such distance that an Olympic hurdler would be jealous.
In other words, Jamie Allen is a Bret Michaels impersonator -- and he does it so well that I'm beginning to wonder if I should call the authorities and report an identity theft. Aside from the receding hairline, everything is here -- the bandana under the cowboy hat, the boyish good looks, and a voice that sounds identical to the Poison frontman's. So in reality The Storyteller is nothing more than a Bret Michaels solo album that captures his sound over the last decade.
With the help of fellow musician/producer Johnny Lima, The Storyteller has some satisfying moments. Rockers like "Smoke And Mirrors", "That's Rock 'N Roll", "Let It Go" and "Ghost Of My Hometown" are convincing enough and filled with some cool guitar work. And what would a Bret Michaels disc -- oops I mean Jamie Allen -- be without a couple ballads and mid-tempo rockers? Don't worry, both are represented here. Thankfully what is missing are dance remixes or any other hair-brained idea Michaels has tried to pull off over the last few years. I do wish Allen would have explored more songs like the Lima penned "She Gets Around", a pop-glam track that sounds out of place on this album but one that shows another side of the singer -- it isn't the best song here, but it is catchy and shows that he isn't just a one-trick pony.
There is nothing wrong with The Storyteller, it's just that we've heard it all before -- there is nothing unique here. The verdict is fairly simple, if you're a Bret Michaels fan you'll be a Jamie Allen fan. I will give the newcomer some credit though, this album kicks the shit out of Custom Built and he hasn't annoyed me by plastering his face all over reality TV. But I have to wonder if Allen would have more success and make more money if he stuck to his Poison tribute band and submitted his songs directly to his idol -- simply because he is never going to receive the fame and recognition Michaels has by being his doppelganger.

( Sleeze Roxx )

Produced, engineered and mixed by Johnny Lima