Gary Allan's "Every Storm (Runs Out of Rain)" would make a dead man cry. But the California-bred crooner is not just a sad sack. His music displays a range of expression; "Nothing on but the Radio" is a perfect two-step ditty, and "Tough Little Boys" is good for a deep nostalgia session.
So what makes Allan such a country music powerhouse? To find out, we spoke with the singer about what constitutes a good country star.
New Times: You've been said to have "smoky vocals." Do you think this actually describes your vocal style?
Gary Allan: Yes, because my voice is really raspy.
Even as a kid?
Yes, when I sang. Actually, it was funny because I never felt like I could sing because of it, because the singing voices I knew were pretty and perfect.
What do you like best about performing in South Florida?
Florida reminds of California: Both are very energetic, and people are better-looking.
Are you planning on gambling and checking out the clubs when you're at Hard Rock?
Nah, I don't gamble.
What is your favorite song from your catalog?
"It Ain't the Whiskey." It's one of the most cutting songs I have. It's about a guy at an AA meeting, pouring out his heart.
Is this based on a personal experience or about someone you know?
No, I didn't write this. My friend wrote it. I imagine it could be a personal story about someone.
In your opinion, what makes a good country singer?
You have to live a little bit and get experience under your belt. It is about life. Pop and rock is about what happens on the weekend.
Tell us about Set You Free and how it's different or better than your other albums.
All my albums reflect where I'm at in life. This one is full of hope. The titles read like a breakup: They are like emotions. The last one is "Good as New."
Who would win in a fight, George Strait or Willie Nelson?
He has more experience... You can see it in his eyes.
What is your favorite song?
"He Stopped Loving Her Today" by George Jones. It's so well-written. It's the epitome of country music.
If you had to tour with someone, who would it be?
Maybe George Strait.
Too bad you said he would lose against Willie in a fight.
Gary Allan, 7 p.m. Sunday, October 6, at the Hard Rock, 1 Seminole Way, Hollywood. Call 954-327-7625, or visit Facebook.