Best of Springfield: Rejuvenated band Allison Road growing its following across the region

Allison Road, founded a decade ago by Alli Sarven, performs a range of country, classic rock, pop and original tunes and has found a renewed energy since reforming with a new lineup this past winter.

In that short time, Allison Road has stayed busy with a slate of concert appearances, and it has already gained enough of a following to be selected as Best Band in the 2022 Best of Springfield competition. Band leader Sarven, who is also the lead vocalist and acoustic guitarist, said Allison Road is about giving the audience a good time.

“It’s just music that appeals to everybody,” she said. “Now we have our sights set on big things. We’re determined to do well.”

» Best of Springfield winners: Check out the new champions for 2022

Also a solo and duet performer, Sarven missed performing with a band and began recruiting for the resurrected Allison Road.

Sarven, a Kenton Ridge graduate, sought out several other Cougar alumni to be in the current band, starting with lead guitarist Parker Fulk, who sat in with the group’s previous incarnation. They’re joined by bass guitarist Brandon Rinker and drummer Spencer Garrett, with Shawnee grad Ryan Stevens rounding out the group on rhythm guitar.

Fulk describes them as being like a Springfield super group.

“There’s just something about the energy of a full band, where everybody is dancing and having a good time,” Sarven said.

The new Allison Road played its first show in April. Besides steady gigs in the area, the group is also building a following in the Columbus area.

It has been a long journey for Sarven. Although “Allison Road” is the name of a song by alternative band The Gin Blossoms, Sarven was fascinated as a child with sharing her first name with an actual Allison Road in Mechanicsburg, and she credits her dad for suggesting the band name.

Sarven and Fulk describe an Allison Road set list like a jukebox with a lot of selections. It usually begins with a little country, Chris Stapleton’s “Parachute” is a popular tune. They then add in classic rock including “Zombie” by the Cranberries, “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns N’ Roses and “Life in the Fast Lane” by The Eagles, then dance music in the second set.

Sarven calls them comedians as well as musicians, getting very involved with the crowd, knowing that if the band is having fun, the crowd will too.

“Nobody wants to see a band and just stand around,” Fulk said.

Fulk said Sarven’s voice and the band’s energy are among the public’s compliments he’s heard, while she said his guitar-playing on songs like “Sweet Child” are a tribute. Now the new Allison Road is rolling, it’s ready to go to another level.

The band recently finished runner-up at the Rt. 4 Farm Tour Battle of the Bands, and Allison Road Acoustic, a smaller version of the group, is competing for a slot to open for a major artist.

In between shows, Sarven will spend time in Nashville writing new music, and the group plans to record enough for an album or EP early next year.

Fulk said one of the best feelings is hearing the crowd sing to Allison Road’s original songs.

For fans of the original version of Allison Road, a reunion show will be Dec. 3 in Marysville. Their sights are set firmly on the future.

“Now our eyes are on the prize. Our sets are tighter and we’re hungry,” Sarven said.

Fulk said there’s a family feel not just among the band members but within their own families and friends, who want to be involved one way or another, from helping set up the stage and sound, merchandise, song decisions, and supporting as part of the audience.

“There is always a friend or family members at our shows. We want the audience to feel that too,” he said.

About the Author