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See If I Care - Gary Allan
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Reviewed by Jennifer Webb

Gary Allan has a California-cool sound blended with a large helping of pure country and a voice that would make any lady want to swoon. He does his own thing and continually puts out some of the greatest sounding music out there in contemporary country music.

First up on the album is "Drinkin' Dark Whiskey" which is a toe-tapper if I ever heard one. It just is not possible to hear it and not want to move around at least a little bit. The first drop of whiskey burns but you get used to it, is what Gary tells us in the first part of the song, but you have to watch what you say because that black label on the bottle does not mean you will be telling the truth anytime soon.

In "Can't Do It Today," wanting to forgive someone for what they did is hard even when you finally feel like forgiving you want to put it off because of doubts that you are doing the wrong thing or will come across as being weak. "They say that time is a healer but it's still a long long ways away 'cause I'll forgive you tomorrow if the sun doesn't shine. Let you back into my life when the oceans are dry. Take you back when every shade of the rainbow turns grey - but I just can't do it today."

Touching and tender is how I would describe Gary's first single, "Tough Little Boys." When little boys are growing up they act mean and tough - that is until they get married and have kids of their own (particularly girls). "One little girl with little blond curls" could turn a man's emotions completely around and have him become a "big baby" because he is so emotionally attached, cares for her, and loves her so much. The following line is beautiful: "When tough little boys grow up to be dads they turn into big babies again."

There is nothing for the man in this song to do so in "Songs About Rain" he drives around in circles thinking about his former flame and the fact that she now has a new last name. He knows there are upbeat songs but he says "for some unknown reason nobody wants to play them tonight" and he focuses on all sad songs being played that happen to all have rain in the song title: "Rainy Night In Georgia" and "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" being two of them.

There is a Bakersfield sound to the up-tempo song, "Guys Like Me," and a co-writer that many would be familiar with - Trent Summar (of Trent Summar & The New Row Mob). An ode of sorts to the old nightlife and bar scenes, Gary sings about being a guy trying to find any old place to play his guitar and how people are trying to "put an end" to guys like him. People are seemingly not interested in real talent anymore and are content with something or someone else.

A rather simple sound is found on "A Showman's Life," which is a song set in smoky bar and it sounds like that is exactly where you are listening to him sing. Living the life of a singer may sound glamorous with promises or money, wine, and the good times but what really hits him hard is the fact that nobody told him about the loneliness and the wear and tear on his heart even though in the back of his mind he already had a feeling it would be like that. He just had to experience the brighter side for awhile.

Gary Allan is a truly talented man who I think often goes unnoticed, which is a shame. His music is better than most of the stuff making the rounds on the radio yet for some reason they do not play him as much as other artists. With his single "Tough Little Boys" maybe radio will notice him and play his new material and even his older songs more than they used to.

Song List:

  1. Drinkin' Dark Whiskey
  2. Can't Do It Today
  3. Tough Little Boys
  4. See If I Care
  5. Songs About Rain
  6. I Can Love You
  7. Don't Look Away
  8. Guys Like Me
  9. Nothing on But the Radio
  10. You Don't Know a Thing About Me
  11. A Showman's Life

Album cover, used with permission of MCA Nashville.
Listen to sound clips of all the songs at Gary Allan's Official Website.

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