Gary Allan

See If I Care

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One of Gary Allan's gifts is the ability to sing about reckless drinking and fatherhood with the same amount of conviction. It's what makes his fifth release, See If I Care, a pleasing and sincere listen. With lyrics that focus on the changes in attitude one goes through while raising a child, the poignant hit "Tough Little Boys" is the obvious highlight and avoids schmaltz through sincerity. The title cut is another bittersweet winner and the slow, epic "Songs About Rain" is further proof Allan is a master balladeer. True to the Bakersfield aesthetic, the up-tempo numbers go easy on the rock and heavy on the honky tonk. The kicking "Drinkin' Dark Whiskey" sticks in the head for a long time and "Guys Like Me" is an energetic plea to bring back great tunes to the jukebox. The only thing keeping See If I Care from being outstanding is that, while none of the songs here are cliché, some are only fair and the album ends up more of a performer's showcase. Too honest for mainstream country and too darn fun for the alt-country set, Allan comes off as a true maverick with enough charisma and cool to make even medium material sound well done.

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