For some, the number 13 is unlucky. But for Gary Allan, at least, 13—as in the year 2013—has been nothing short of charmed. It’s been nearly three years since Allan released his last album, and clearly music fans were ready for a new one from him. His latest work, Set You Free, debuted at the top of both the country albums chart and the all-genre Billboard 200 and has been receiving glowing praise from critics.
Allan stopped by Ram Country on Yahoo! Music recently to give us a taste of his stellar new material, as well as sit down and chat about what he's been up to in preparation for this new endeavor.
The new record has a distinctly sunnier tone than his last set—2010’s critically acclaimed but cathartic Get Off On The Pain. Allan—who weathered one of most painful experiences imaginable, the suicide of his wife in 2004--explains that it was a bit of a challenge to create a more optimistic collection.
“My favorite country songs are the cutting ones, the ones that make you cry,” he notes. “And that’s my favorite stuff to write. So it was really hard for me to try and not write that way, and try to keep it all up.”
However: “I’m not in a bad place right now,” he assures fans. ““I’m in a great place… I’m sleeping good at night. I think that we got a few albums out of all that stuff and it was good therapy, but I think that everybody’s good to go right now.”
That said, when asked if he thinks fans prefer his darker side, Allan is matter of fact. “I think they’re going to be surprised by [the new album]. I think every album is like that--whatever album I do, it’s definitely a step in time of where I’m at mentally. And I’m excited for everybody to get this because it is an up album and it’s very different from what I’ve done.”
Allan is keeping busy in more ways than making music. In addition to the charitable works he’s spearheading (the lead single from Set You Free, “Every Storm (Runs Out Of Rain}” was earmarked to raise funds for victims of 2012’s superstorm Sandy), he also does something completely different careerwise. Allan opened up a high-end men’s clothing boutique, The Label, in Nashville in 2011.
“I’ve always liked fashion,” he explains. “We mostly sell to the people who come in to play the arenas and stuff like that.” His famous clients include Joe Walsh, Journey, and even Guns ‘N Roses. “I think we get everybody who goes through town. And all the country artists. When you watch the awards show, I’m always dressing most of them!”
Allan is currently touring in support of his new material all the way through the summer. You can keep up with his schedule here.