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From 'Brand New Shoes' to baby booties

WANT TO GO?

Kris Allen with the Ryan Kennedy Trio

WHERE: Haddad Riverfront Park

WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Friday

COST: Free

INFO: 304-348-8014 or www.liveontheleveecharleston.com

________CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- If Kris Allen ducks out early from his concert Friday night at Charleston's Live on the Levee, don't be completely surprised.

"We're on baby-watch," the 28-year-old said.

Allen's wife, Katy, is pregnant -- very pregnant -- and due to deliver the couple's first child (a boy) in a little more than a week. Although nerves are understandably a little frayed, the "American Idol" Season 8 champ thinks everything Friday should go off without a hitch.

"But we definitely have a backup plan."

Allen said his road manager will keep track of things for him while Allen is on stage, staying abreast of any new developments.

"He'll be looking at his phone."

And if his wife goes into labor ...

"We'll make sure I get home fast."

He just doesn't want to miss it.

For fans of the pop singer, Friday night's show in Charleston might be one of the last chances to see Allen perform for the summer. Understandably, after the baby gets here, the soon-to-be proud papa plans to spend some time with his newly minted family.

He's not entirely clear on how much time that's going to be, though.

"I honestly don't know yet," he said. "Especially over August and maybe a little bit of September, the plan was to be at home as much as possible, but after that, I still want to do what I do. I still want to tour. I still want to make music."

So, very soon, Allen will be joining the legion of performers who have to find some way to juggle a life on the road with a family at home. He didn't seem concerned, but then again Allen and his wife have been together since they were in high school.

"We'll figure it out," he said.

The break from the road over the next several weeks also will be a chance for Allen to recuperate. The singer is still mending from injuries sustained earlier this year in a car accident. On New Year's Day, he and his wife were involved in a head-on collision.

His wife escaped with minor injuries, but Allen broke his arm. It wasn't life threatening, but it makes it hard to play guitar.

After several surgeries, including one in late June, Allen is hopeful the arm will be back to something like normal soon, although he acknowledged on his website that it probably won't ever be back to the way it was.

Allen said he'd been playing guitar as much as he could during the past few months because he knew this last surgery was coming and, with it, some time in a hard-shell cast.

"Definitely over the next couple of months, I won't be playing as much, but I'm pretty stubborn," he said. "I'll pick it up, and I probably shouldn't. I expect I'll start finger picking at some point."

Aside from time at home with his new family and healing up, Allen said he's in the early stages of his next record. Over the past few months, he's been working with songwriting partners and putting together new material.

"We're discussing possible producers," he said. "It's still in the early stages, but it's still exciting stuff."

Not as exciting as a new baby, of course, but still exciting. Reach Bill Lynch at lynch@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.


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