Editors’ Notes Charlie Allen isn’t the slickest candidate for country stardom that you’ll run across. In fact, there’s an unpolished quality to his singing that runs counter to typical Nashville smoothness and it’s this raw edge that gives Allen’s sophomore album That Was Then, This is Now its authentic feel. Charlie has a big, exuberant singing style that goes heavy on the twang. He applies his vocals to a batch of tunes that fit his All-American persona nicely. Sonically, this album often has an ‘80s country-pop feel, with just enough rock guitar and swampy rhythms to lessen the sweetness. Allen doesn’t mind showing off his softer side — “Dollar General Store” and “Proof” celebrate the ways of love in Small Town USA. He puts a lot of oomph into his ballads, coming across like a less-polished Toby Keith on “I Did This to Me” and “See If I Care.” “Can’t Take Him Out of Me” and “I Don’t Have Forever” affirm the singer’s religious faith, while “Why Ask Why” finds him getting wild on the back roads. Through it all, Allen seems to be having a great time, always putting his heart into his performances.