From Sunday’s Oklahoma State Fair section of The Oklahoman.
Gary Allan bringing new music to Oklahoma State Fair show
For the third time, the mainstream country maverick is playing during the fair’s PRCA Xtreme Bulls Tour.
For the third time, the multiplatinum singer-songwriter will play during the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Xtreme Bulls Tour at the fair, where he will follow the bone-crushing bull-riding action Saturday, Sept. 22 at Jim Norick State Fair Arena.
It seems appropriate, then, that Allan intends to play three new songs from his forthcoming album: the hopeful first single “Every Storm (Runs out of Rain),” the solo number “It Ain’t the Whiskey,” and “Bones,” which he described as “like an anger song: ‘I’ve got bones to pick with you.’”
“I’ve got actually a couple new band guys, so we’ve been rehearsing and switching the show up. It should be really different, should be really fun,” Allan said in a recent phone interview from Nashville, Tenn., where he was relaxing and enjoying “a beautiful day on the lake” during a day off from the road.
Along with the new songs, the tattooed honky-tonk heartthrob will play previous hits like “Smoke Rings in the Dark,” “Man to Man,” “Tough Little Boys,” “Watching Airplanes” and “Nothing on But the Radio” during a rowdy and rocking concert that he promised would be a suitable follow-up to the Xtreme bull-riding action.
“You can’t go out and whip ‘em into a coma,” he said with a laugh.
Rocking the Oklahoma State Fair has never been a problem for Allan. Fair spokesman Scott Munz said the MCA Nashville recording artist has previously performed during the 2007 and 2009 PRCA events.
“His attendance at that (2009) performance was the best we’ve ever had for any performer at the rodeo,” he said.
Advance sales for Allan’s 2012 fair show have been strong, and tickets are still available, he said.
“Gary Allan has very much a cult following,” Munz said. “And they turn out in droves.”
Allan, 44, plans to release his highly anticipated ninth album, titled “Set You Free,” in early 2013. It is the follow-up to his critically acclaimed 2010 effort “Get Off on the Pain,” which Jon Caramanica of the New York Times placed at No. 6 on his top 10 albums list for that year.
In March, Universal released a new compilation in its “Icon” series devoted to Allan’s 16-year recording career with the company. But his fervent fans have been eagerly awaiting new music.
“The biggest difference on this (album) I think is the time I had to do it. They were changing the label head at my label, so I was waiting for that to happen before I turned in a record. So it’s probably been 2 ½ years,” Allan said, referring to former Capitol Nashville President/CEO Mike Dungan taking over as the head of Universal Music Group Nashville back in February.
With the extra time, the Calfornia native said he was able to write more and seek out better songs for “Set You Free.” He co-wrote “Every Storm” with Matt Warren and Hillary Lindsey, and the latter sings backup on the lead-off single, which is shipping to radio this month.
“It’s one of those feel-good songs, you know, that nothing’s gonna last forever: ‘Every storm runs out of rain/every dark cloud turns into day,’” he said.
While that sentiment might come in handy for bull-riders at the Oklahoma State Fair who find themselves thrown to the ground by their bucking bovine adversaries, the title track of his last effort, “Get Off on the Pain,” probably fits the occasion a bit better.
Allan’s video for the confessional anthem even features Guilherme Marchi, a competitor on the Professional Bull Riders Built Ford Tough Series tour. The musician said his mother is a passionate follower of the sport and Marchi, which led to the rider’s co-starring role in the video.
“I like bull-riding,” Allan said. “But my mom is actually a huge bull-riding fan.”
PRCA Xtreme Bulls Tour and Concerts
Featuring: PRCA Xtreme Bulls and Jake Owen.
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21.
Featuring: PRCA Xtreme Bulls and Gary Allan.
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22.
Where: Jim Norick State Fair Arena.
Special deal: Fairgoers who purchase event tickets before the fair starts (by Wednesday) will receive complimentary outside gate admission.
Information: 948-6700 or www.okstatefair.com.