Each came to the partnership from very different avenues. Miller began singing when he was young and continued through his years at Huntington North High School with show choir and musical theatre provided outlets for his talents. Ashcraft learned guitar at home, eventually teaming with his father, Hubie Sr., for Father & Son, which played area clubs and bars for years.
“I’ve traveled around to all 50 states, working on ships and in theme parks,” Miller said. “Singing by myself or singing with a band, and I was always trying to find something special. Hubie and I, as soon as we started playing together, I knew we had something special. When Shakin’ Bake broke up, we knew we wanted to go on as a duo, to bring both of our skills together to form Allan & Ashcraft.”
“Allan and I harmonized well and became fast friends, so we knew we wanted to continue as a duo,” Ashcraft said. “We both have a lot of the same influences in country music. Allan loves classic country music like Ronnie Milsap and the Bellamy Brothers while I listen to a lot of the outlaw country — Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson. That really tied us together, our appreciation for the same music.”
The sound created from that friendship and those similar musical tastes has earned them attention from some influential people in Nashville, including Buddy Miller, a renowned singer/songwriter/producer as well as Chuck Rhodes, who is managing the band and helping them to branch out beyond Fort Wayne bookings. In fact, a regular gig at Tootsies Orchid Lounge in Nashville is in the works, and their recent EP was recorded both in Nashville and Fort Wayne studios.
Happily settled in with their band — which includes Andrew Teeple, Mike Grant, Travis Gow and Jef Ude — Allan & Ashcraft are still accessible to their Fort Wayne fans, often playing at the Rusty Spur, where they had their recent EP release party. While they appreciate the support of family, friends and local supporters, they look forward to sharing their music around the country, revisiting the haunts of their musical inspirations.
“When we play at Tootsies, we’re aware of what a fixture places like that are of the country music tradition,” Miller said. “It’s amazing to stand on those stages where so many great country artists have played and to put our feet in those footprints.”