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Gary Allan

Saturday, July 14, 2018, 9:00 PM

Dictionary.com defines freedom as "the power to determine action without restraint."Thus, Gary Allans Set You Free is a perfectly named, well-conceived album that embodies his own evolution toward personal, creative freedom. The album, sequenced with a storyline in which a man breaks the restraints of a failed relationship and conquers the loneliness of its aftermath, is the result of Allans own journey as a man and as an artist.He took a number of new steps during the recording process by mixing up the production team, playing lead guitar on a number of tracks, writing more of his own material and using a handful of new co-writers. As a result, he came up with the most optimistic album of his career, one that acknowledges the hurdles of the past and the ways in which theyve helped to shape his current sense of renewal."Its all about healing," Allan says. "Its all about the evolution of getting better."He has, to be sure, drawn heavily from that viewpoint, mixing honky-tonk bravado and grainy isolation across eight previous studio albums, all the while mining the emotional turf that fuels a life well-lived: the joys of parenting, the heartache of personal loss, the testosterone of disagreement and the unpredictability of love. He registered four #1 singles "Man To Man," "Tough Little Boys," "Nothing On But The Radio" and "Watching Airplanes" in addition to such trademark hits such as the lonely "Best I Ever Had" and the swaggering "Right Where I Need To Be." Allans amassed seven gold albums in the process three of them certified platinum, as well and maintained the admiration of critics for his unwavering uniqueness.Set You Free is at once familiar and enlightening. Fans who have followed Allan throughout his 17-year recording career will recognize the dark crevasses in the project the gnarled anger of "Bones," the honest self-examination of "It Aint The Whiskey," the sinister self-abuse of "Sand In My Soul."But as the albums cinematic plot unfolds, it opens into a refreshing glimpse of self-acceptance. Allan falls into a carefree, quasi-reggae groove on the upbeat "No Worries." He couches past suffering as a tool for a promising future in the driving, penultimate "Pieces." And he closes the album with a dramatic, lush proclamation, "Good As New."That latter title sums up the emotional place in which Allan finds himself, and he attributes much of it to music."Theres no better thing than to have all your best friends come over and to talk about the emotions that youre having," Allan says. "Songwriting is the best therapy in the world."Allan is also good as new in a literal, physical way. Set You Free is the first album he recorded since the removal of a polyp on his vocal cords that had doggedly restricted his range, his strength and his expression. The issue was discovered almost by accident during a routine checkup with a Nashville voice doctor. But it explained why his concerts had ever so gradually become a test of his endurance."Every time I would go out before the surgery, I would only last full force for about three songs," he says. "I could feel the fatigue, and I could feel my cords swell up, and I had other people hitting notes for me. They removed the polyp, and it was like I was 18 again. It was amazing how well it worked."The difference is noticeable. Theres always been a gritty, gravelly edge to his performances, but confident that his voice will respond, Allan pushes himself on Set You Free, singing with more command, authority and pliability than he has in years.Able to challenge himself vocally, he found other ways to draw from his creative muse. He devoted more time to writing songs and explored a new avenue by co-writing for the first time with a series of women. Of the five songs he penned, four are co-written with three different women Sarah Buxton, Hillary Lindsey and Rachel Proctor a step that unlocked an undefinable energy.He particularly enjoyed many of the songs he wrote with Lindsey, whos written a

Cost: $35.00 - $40.00
Tickets: http://www.ticketnetwork.com/tix/tickets-3452295.aspx

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14464 Old Bandera Rd.
Helotes, TX 78023

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