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CD review: Gary Allan 'Set You Free'

Among mainstream country music stars, the California native has always been a bit of a maverick, and his trend-bucking ways prove more tuneful and welcome than ever on his ninth album.
by Brandy McDonnell Modified: January 31, 2013 at 5:01 pm •  Published: February 1, 2013
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/articleid/3750420/1/pictures/1940408">Photo - This CD cover image released by MCA Nashville shows "Set You Free," by Gary Allan. (AP Photo/MCA Nashville) ORG XMIT: NYET115
This CD cover image released by MCA Nashville shows "Set You Free," by Gary Allan. (AP Photo/MCA Nashville) ORG XMIT: NYET115

Allan puts a bleakly surreal spin on the island country trend with the wallowing “Sand in My Soul,” and he harmonizes beautifully with co-writer Rachel Proctor on the heartbreaker “You Without Me,” about seeing his one-time lover with a new man. The old-school country of “Hungover Heart” contrasts intriguingly with the reggae groove of “No Worries,” which effectively sets up the album's big finish.

Acceptance is the theme of the uptempo anthem “Pieces,” as his character acknowledges the mistakes made and lessons learned along the way. Finally, the lust of the sultry jazz-inflected come-on “Drop” proves to be true love that makes him “Good as New” on the fervent ballad that closes the album, the all-around strongest to date of Allan's career.

— Brandy McDonnell

by Brandy McDonnell
Entertainment Reporter
Brandy McDonnell, also known by her initials BAM, writes stories and reviews on movies, music, the arts and other aspects of entertainment. She is NewsOK’s top blogger: Her 4-year-old entertainment news blog, BAM’s Blog, has notched more than 1...
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