Growing up in Halifax, Allan's first thirteen years consisted of regular visits from Dave MacIsaac and anyone else who came to the city for a Cape Breton dance. He started out on acoustic guitar, playing for his sister on fiddle and mother on piano. Around the age of 8, he began to play along on the piano while his mother would play solos or to a tape playing on the stereo. He was instructed to "do it right if you are going to do it at all" and that was all it took for encouragement. There was no formal training of any sort. Allan learned by ear and he attended every concert, dance and house party he could.
Moving to Antigonish at age 13 pushed his interest forward. It was a nerve centre at that time for fiddlers coming to town to take lessons and it was close to Cape Breton. He soon became a regular every summer playing for local dances and "filling in for a set" to give the piano player a break.
Allan has toured around the world with Jerry Holland, Ashley MacIsaac, Natalie MacMaster and Troy MacGillivray. For the past couple of years, he has worked as Music Director at the Celtic Music Interpretive Centre in Judique.