This year has been tough on everyone, but the COVID-19 pandemic has been especially rough for the music industry. All jobs related to live music have practically vanished, so country artist Jimmie Allen stepped up to take care of his band and crew by taking out a loan to help them through this tough year.
Allen joined three other country musicians on ABC’s 20/20 before the 2020 CMA Awards to discuss the past year. He joined country artists Darius Rucker, Ashley McBryde, and Charlie Worsham in a conversation on their struggles due to the pandemic.
Allen opened up about going from touring non-stop for years to 2020 coming to a screeching halt. The musician spoke candidly about helping his fellow band members and tour crew during these rough times.
Both Allen and McBryde agreed that the toughest part of the pandemic had to do with their extended musical family. Obviously, they wouldn’t be able to play live music with their bandmates. Additionally, they wouldn’t be on tour with their road crews for months at a time.
However, the whole group agreed that not being able to pay their band and crew crushed each of them. During the conversation, the musicians became emotional thinking about the people that rely on them to make a living. The realization that they themselves would likely make due, but some of their crew could really be struggling to make ends meet during the pandemic upset each of the artists. The talk even brought McBryde to tears, and it’s one of the reasons Allen admitted he made a risky financial decision to try to help his crew during these difficult times.
“My guys that tour with me, my band and my crew, these guys they sacrifice for me. And I was stressed out. Because I’d be good, financially. But these guys have wives, they have families,” Allen emotionally explained. “So I said, ‘Screw it.’ I went to the bank. I took out this crazy loan. I was like, ‘I got 45 years to pay it back.’ And that’s just what I decided to do.”
Allen Discusses His Mental Health During COVID-19
In addition, Allen touched on his own mental health issues, which became worse as the pandemic first swept the nation. Allen has talked before about his bipolar diagnosis. He said that the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 has exacerbated his mental health issues.
“A lot of my mental issues came back,” Allen says during the conversation. “Kinda how I coped with [bipolar disorder] is always staying busy, always doing something… And then the first two weeks, it was rough. I didn’t even get out of bed. I didn’t eat. Mood swings were terrible. I realized for me and my mental health, I needed to be doing something. So that’s kinda what I was able to just dive into a bunch of other projects.”
McBryde said she agreed with Allen on the “mental health side” of things stemming from the pandemic. She also struggled during the early days of COVID-19, feeling helpless and not knowing how to spend her time. The musician says she became “part of the bed” and “part of the couch” until she made herself realize the pandemic wasn’t going away.
“We put a record out, and we had so much momentum I could barely keep up every day,” she recounted. “And then the rug came out. ‘What do you mean, we’re not going back on the road?'”
[H/T Taste of Country]