Gary Allan

Get Off on the Pain

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On his eight studio album, Get Off on the Pain, California honky tonk hero Gary Allan digs deep in the soil of human emotion and comes up with a handful of diamonds. Allan, one of the few authentic artists to come out of Nashville since country music turned into a giant money machine, is as real as they come. Never a trend follower, Allan -- who for the most part has steered clear of cheese-filled songwriting fodder -- keeps getting better with age. Get Off on the Pain is a well-crafted, ten-song collection that, to steal a well-worn phrase, is all killer and no filler. The gritty and grinding title track, a thundering number that finds Allan examining his fondness for a lifestyle that has left him with more than a few scars on his heart, body, mind, and soul, sets the tone for the entire disc. This isn't music for Sunday mornings; it's not all sunshine and flowers in Allan's world. The slow-burning "Along the Way" and the revved-up "That Ain't Gonna Fly" are meaty numbers that showcase Allan's unmistakable wail. The former is a reflective number, while the latter is a pedal-to-the floor barn burner. Few country artists can rock harder than Allan, but the outlaw singer/songwriter can easily handle a good ballad, as he proves with "Today." The heartrending track cuts deep and burns long after the last note fades. Strings, steel guitar, and piano swirl around Allan's aching vocals as he slips on the boots of a man struggling to come to terms with a relationship long dead except in his mind. The final nail is hammered in the coffin when the guy's ex marries someone else. Allan had a hand in co-writing five of the songs on Get Off on the Pain, which will likely go down as one of the best albums of his career.

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