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Allen Plays on Home Turf

Doug Allen has played shows everywhere, "from L.A. to New York," he says, and even in Europe. But this summer, the Darien native is taking time to perform in front of hometown crowds, with a string of free concerts. He started Friday outside of Gofer Ice Cream, playing covers of artists like Bob Marley and Coldplay for shoppers taking a break from the town's sidewalk sales.

He'll follow up with two concerts of his own acoustic rock for the Summer Nights series. He plays before the movie "The Blind Side" Saturday, July 16 at Tilley Pond Park, then performs July 25 at Weed Beach. "Growing up in town, they had concerts there all the time," he said. "It's nice to see them doing it again, to see a little culture back in the town."

Allen got started in music 12 years ago, when he convinced a friend to teach him a few guitar chords. "I liked listening to everything," he said. "So I figured, how neat would it be to play my own stuff, and sing songs all the time?" Since then, he's recorded three CDs, toured the U.S. and Europe, and had his songs featured on movie soundtracks, including "One True Thing" and "A Reason to Believe."

Besides performing and recording, Allen also teaches guitar. He gears his lessons toward each student, starting with songs they've already heard and enjoy, and using that to teach specific chords and music theory.

The teaching style fits his philosophy on music. "Playing rock 'n' roll isn't hard," he said. "All you need it six or seven chords, and you can play most of the songs on the radio. But if you love it, and you like to sing, you can let the guitar go as fast as you want it to."

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