Gary Allan: New voice, new and old songs

If you’ve gone to more than a handful of concerts in your life, chances are you’ve seen it happen.

Favorite artist comes out with a new album. Favorite artist devotes a disproportionate amount of the show  to songs from the  album that never have (and never will) receive radio play.

Or, even worse, favorite artist decides he’s tired of playing any of the big songs that got him to the top in the first place, and sets out to “rediscover” himself in front of his legions of let-down fans.

Gary AllanIn short, you’ve just paid big money to see Don McLean, and he didn’t sing “American Pie.”

Fortunately, there’s also that rare artist who, in the prime of a career spent largely on the cutting edge of his musical genre, delivers up an album so good, so powerful and so immediately recognizable, fans are already intimately familiar with the songs before they’ve received any airplay.

Gary Allan fans, get ready. You’re about to get hit with a hit-laden storm from both sides of that fence.

“The reaction to all the new stuff has been huge ever since we went out,” said Allan, who brings his tour to Peppermill’s Tuscany Event Center in Reno on Saturday night.

“It’s going over great and we’re proud of it. We’re adding a little bit of new and sprinkling in things from the past. It always has bothered me to see a band with history and they don’t play any of their old stuff.”

And when he says “sprinkle” … relax. You’ll hear a generous assortment of the big hits (“Man to Man,” “Watching Airplanes,” “Nothing On But the Radio,” “Tough Little Boys” and his latest, “Every Storm (Runs Out of Rain)”as well as other tracks off his latest number one album, “Set You Free.”

The Reno stop has become a bit of a tradition for Allan, a Southern California native with fond memories of many Lake Tahoe ski trips as a child.

“We always look forward to going up there,” Allan said. “We’ve been kind of finishing up there every year. I have family in Utah and it ends up being a big thing to see our friends and family.”

While Reno often marks the end of a tour for Allan, this year’s stop (to be followed by shows in Seattle and Portland) will actually mark a bit of a new beginning.

For one thing, Allan, literally, has a new voice – the result of vocal cord surgery to remove a polyp, which was discovered during a routine checkup with a voice doctor in Nashville. He said the difference has been noticeable, and fans will hear the difference in concert just as clearly as they did on “Set You Free.”

“On the high notes, your vocal cords come together real quick,” he said. “Mine couldn’t come together because of a blister in-between. They removed that, and I’m singing like I’m 18 again.”

Not only that, the Peppermill concert will mark the first “new show” with some  lineup and song-selection changes that were made following Allan’s recently completed tour with Sheryl Crow.

“We’re definitely making some changes and you guys will get to see it first,” he said.

Along with the hits, of course.

 Gary Allan

When: 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30

Where: Peppermill Tuscany Event Center

Tickets: $24 to $75

Purchase: CLICK


About Mike Wolcott

Mike Wolcott is the editor of the Chico Enterprise-Record. His proudest musical moment came when he was scolded by Who bassist John Entwistle for making too much noise at a Roger Daltrey concert. He especially likes classic rock, classic old-time country, Jimmy Buffett, Bob Dylan and all three Hanks. Parsons calls him “Wally.” When he’s not slaying deadlines, you can find Wally playing guitar in a Corning-based cover band called Punches the Clown.

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