In 1996, country singer Gary Allan was a somewhat brooding, left-of-center hat act with a debut hit single, “Her Man.” Three years later, Allan donned a silk suit and a few tattoos to match the smoldering, nocturnal allure of his third album, Smoke Rings in the Dark.
Fast-forward to 2010 and country’s quiet maverick is a transformed artist. The hat gathers dust in his closet. The tattoos cover his arms.
The music, especially 2005′s Tough All Over, 2007′s Living Hard and the new Get Off on the Pain, combines heaps of rugged rock with honky-tonk country.
It took three months, 10 voters and 300 nominated albums, but we’ve finally made it to the top of the mountain. These areThe 9513’s Top 10 Country Albums of the Decade.
7.Tough All Over (2005) – Gary Allan
Before Rodney Atkins stormed country radio by sneaking through hell, Gary Allan crawled through the fire and lived to tell the tale. Just a year after Allan’s wife committed suicide, he released Tough All Over, an album laced with pain and disillusionment that was so personal it would have been a joyous example of country music at its finest had it not been so completely heartbreaking. The album’s only hit single was a deeply intimate cover of rock band Vertical Horizon’s “Best I Ever Had,” but “I Just Got Back From Hell” is one of country music’s bravest confessions; when Allan sings, “I’ve been mad at everyone, including God and you,” it’s a dose of truth that’s a hard pill to swallow. Allan pours his battered spirit into Tough All Over, and while it’s far from an uplifting listening experience it’s one that is fully worth the emotional wear. — Jim Malec
Gary Allan’s music evolves an emotional edge
By Chris Parker
We love our heroes brash, unsparing, and a little bad. But that’s a young man’s garb, before life’s iniquities engender a little more pause in the devil-may-care strut. Maybe that’s why it seems that rock is the music of boys, and country the music of men.
Gary Allan has always walked a little on both paths. Though his label might’ve put a hat on him, they could never hide that rebellious streak. He slept through school as a young teen and hung out in honky-tonks, playing bars with his father’s country band. There was a record contract offer when he was 15, but he turned it down and set out to earn his own style.
Look for a 4 Star Review of Gary’s Album “Tough All Over” in the January/February issue of American Songwriter. more!
Tough All Over is the revered as the one of the top 5 albums of 2005 says USA Today. Not only did they find Gary Allan’s latest album as one of the best in all genre of music, but it was also the only country album to be listed as one of the best. So if wasn’t on your Christmas list it should be your new years resolution to get it.