Writing music for the Lord

Published 11:04 pm Thursday, October 30, 2008

Music has been a part of Andy Allen’s life since the age of 16, but only recently has music touched his life in a new way.

Allen said his life completely changed as he watched the funeral service for Dottie Rambo, who passed away in May after a bus accident and is heralded as a legend in gospel music.

“I was watching the funeral on television shortly after the accident,” he said. “One of the ministers speaking at the funeral said the gift God had given Dottie would not pass away. He said it would be bestowed out upon the body of Christ. I was sitting there watching it and the Lord basically tapped me on the shoulder and said, ‘I am going to give you part of that anointing.’”

The gift was unexpected, according to Allen, but the songs soon came flooding from his fingertips.

“I think she was buried on May 11 and it started the next day,” he said. “It is nothing but Him. I give Him the credit for it. It is not me. I have dabbled in songwriting before. One of the things people really seem to like is “The Potter’s Song.” I had dabbled with writing it probably eight years ago. The Lord told me to bring that song back out and we would straighten it out. Now it is nothing near what it started to be. It is pretty good.

Allen, who was born in Brewton and grew up in the Mobile area, said he worked hard to purchase his first Epiphone acoustic guitar.

“That year, when I was 16, I worked all summer to buy my first guitar,” he said. “I had looked at it and wanted it. When I finally went to buy it the store was having an end of summer sale and I got it for half price.”

Money was not easy to come by during his youth, according to Allen, but he worked hard to teach himself to play the instrument.

“I basically taught myself how to play the guitar,” he said. “My parents did not think I would stick with music. Money was tight in those days anyway and they could not pay for music lessons.”

Allen, who is now 52, later attended Mobile College, now the University of Mobile, to study ministry and music. Afterward, he began working fulltime for several churches throughout Louisiana and slowly progressed into Alabama and Covington County.

“I had been working part-time at Southside Baptist Church in Andalusia and when that job ended everyone convinced me to move here,” he said.

According to Allen songwriting has also been a pastime throughout the years, but did not truly take shape until May.

“When I started playing guitar I also dabbled in writing songs,” he said. “I did not know much about it. If something came to mind, then I would write it down and put a note to it. Some of the songs I wrote in those early days are fairly good and I still sing them on occasion.”

All of the songs can be referenced to Scripture, according to Allen, and new songs come to mind each time he reads a verse.

“I read the Bible as often as possible,” he said. “When I have free time while working at Shaw, I will take the Bible out to read a few verses and songs just come to me. I write down the words on any piece of paper I can find and I work at the melody later when I get home.

“It is not me,” he added. “It is the Holy Spirit working through me. I just take down dictation. He puts the words in my mind, He puts the music in my mind and I write it down.”

Allen said he has written more than a dozen songs since May and he has several songs waiting to be completed.

“I think I wrote three songs in about 15 minutes at one point,” he said. “I told the Lord to slow down because I could not take it down that fast. I straightened them out a little bit more afterwards. I wrote two more the next day that he gave me.”

Allen said some of his songs are being considered for publication in Nashville at this time, but he feels his calling could be in a different place.

“We feel like the Lord is leading us in a different direction,” he said. “I feel like the Lord is leading me more into music evangelism. If things continue to work in that direction, then we could possibly be leaving town.

Andy currently resides in Andalusia with his wife, Rita, and mother-in-law, Hope Rhodes. He has two sons, Matthew and Adam, and a daughter, Hope.