He's An Alright Guy

Alright Guy (MCA Nashville)
Gary Allan

By Rob Greenwell

I'm an Alright Guy is Gary Allan's fourth album from MCA Nashville. Allan has always been far from the mainstream of country's "center of the road," and that's what makes him such a well-loved artist. His sound comes from the Southern California area, much like Dwight Yoakam and Buck Owens Bakersfield sound. Allan's new album is a blend of Southern California country, mixed with a little bit of rockabilly plus a measure of Texas-style country.

Starting off is a Jaime O'Hara-penned tune, "Man to Man," an up-tempo song discussing the finer points of "`I'm ticked at you because you stole her away from me,' and the other guy's saying, `You screwed up yourself, don't blame me'". The second cut "The Devil's Candy," a ditty about man who always went for the unhealthy things in his life: bad women, bad whiskey, is what this guy goes after, not the things that would make his life great. "The Devil's Candy" is radio worthy and should be released as a single. The third cut, "What I'd Say," is a tune originally done by Earl Thomas Conelly. Allan's version is a decent cover, as he puts his own style and flavor to the song, but it's very hard to replace an original.

"Man of Me" is the album's first single, a great tune about what a woman can do to make a boy a man. An up-tempo song that sticks in the mind, it's not a traditional country song, but then, that's Gary Allen. He puts together a mixture of sounds, and makes it a hundred times more country than what Nashville is putting on the record shelves.

The next cut, "Adobe Walls," a very slow, kind of a jazzy, country, Texas swing tune that you might hear at two in the morning in a West Texas honky-tonk, might well be the most interesting song on the CD for it's mixture of styles.

Jim Lauderdale and Leslie Satcher get the writing credits on "What's on my Mind", the album's sixth cut. This song talks about the one of the major things that bugs men the most: a nagging woman who will not quit trying to find out what's on her man's mind. This is a `guys' cut all the way, as Gary will surely learn as this song gets requested by all the country boys at his shows.

The title cut, another `guy' song- and also the most controversial song - is next. For men who can't show their wild side anymore, it provides vicarious thrills, talking about everything from naked women to illicit drugs to spending some time in jail. This is all I can say about this song, because it will get a bad reputation otherwise. All I can say is buy the album, and you will see what I mean.

"The One" is a slow ballad about a man waiting patiently for his woman to realize that he is the man of her dreams while "I'm Doing My Best" is about being recently single and living day-by-day. The last track on the album. "What Would Willie Do," is a Bruce Robison tune offering a country version of the WWJD slogan from Christian music.

Alright Guy is a strong album that has a chance to push Allan over the top in terms of his status in the business. He has never been "pop" country, and that is why his fans flock to see him play. When Gary Allan's original record label closed, MCA Nashville President Tony Brown gave him a chance on that label and didn't try to change him to fit the mold. Kudos to Tony for that.

Out of 10 longnecks, this album gets 9.

Gary Allan will play at Coyote's Music and Dance Hall on November 8. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 day of the show.