Gary Allan

"I think the fans are gonna feel that this record is different," he says, "but the most important thing is that what I do is authentic. I've never pushed for a certain image. I've just always done my own thing."
This time around, Allan says, that includes letting listeners ride along through his personal landscape over the past year. "The record has taken about a year to make," he says, "and I think the whole thing reflects change. I think every record sort of reflects where I'm at, and I've made a ton of changes this year, just mentally and in how I'm approaching everything. "Oh," he adds with a grin, "and I think it's much more rockin' than anything I've done."
Allan decided to crank it up musically. "I just felt like I was growing so much and wanted the music to reflect that. I think the result has more of an edge." More edge, from the man who's already got a reputation as a bit of a Nashville outsider? "Hopefully country music feels like they need somebody like me in the fold just to shake things up," he laughs.
Not that this was all his idea - Allan feels some of the changes come from the fans themselves. "It's not like I was trying for a new direction, it's almost audience driven, too. l feel like I've got this young crowd with me now, I've got these rocker kids in my audience. And I grew up with that music, too," says the California-bred singer, "so to me that stuff is right alongside Kris Kristofferson and Waylon Jennings. The people really dictate the music, too. I feed off the audience, whatever they're really wanting is what they drag out of me. I've got the edgy side of the country crowd -- and I want to keep them."
No danger of losing them - "Living Hard" is an all-out rocker with a heavy Rolling Stones influence, and in "Like It's a Bad Thing" he lets it rip with a song that reads like a Gary Allan bad boy manifesto. "That song does sound like me, doesn't it" he says. "I think if anything that sort of renegade spirit is even more prevalent on this album. We've always danced to our own tune."
Allan, whose life is a whirlwind of hard-driving touring, also made a conscious decision to carve out more songwriting time for this album than ever before. "It's the most I've written on any album," he says. "I usually only write on my time off because I'm going so much that I hardly have time to ponder and sit around enough to want to write. Last year I sort of forced myself into it early so that I could write more for the record."
He was pleased with the result: "I'm usually more critical on my stuff," he says, "but I feel like I'm writing better, and obviously the more you've been through, the more you've got to say and the deeper you can express those emotions."
If you've been to his shows, Allan says, you know that when he sings about "baring my soul for the price of your ticket," he's not just blowing smoke. Since his last studio album, 2005's TOUGH ALL OVER, which drew on his experiences coping with the death-by-suicide of his wife, Angela, in 2004, Allan has become known for putting all his emotions on the line in his songs. "I'm exactly the same on the stage as I am off the stage," he says, "and what I found is, the bigger the arena, the more you're standing in the middle of those people, the more transparent you are. You can tell when somebody's not authentic or they're trying to be something they're not."
In songs like "Learning How to Bend," he admits he's still exploring some rough terrain as he makes his way back into everyday life and the possibility of a new relationship. "I think my favorite song that I wrote on this album is 'Learning How to Bend'," he says. "I woke up one day with that title. And it's me, you know -- I'm still learning, learning how to bend."
And in "We Touched the Sun" he moves forward while looking back at the beautiful times he shared with Angela. "There's a small circle of us that write songs together, and it's like group therapy," he says with a chuckle. "And the result is it's real. We rented a house in Costa Rica just to write, and 'We Touched the Sun' is one of the songs that came out of that session. It's a very reflective song, looking back at Angela. But it could be anybody you loved, just all the fond memories."
Thanks in part to all of that musical therapy, says Allan, these days "I'm in a good place, definitely happy."
And, he assures his fans, if you've been through tough times yourself, or you're just wondering how he's coping these days, all you have to do is listen to his music. "I don't really talk to people about my situation," he says, "but I feel like since I do write about my life and where I am, you can watch me heal through my music. It's lots easier on me, and I do hope that the music speaks to you."
With LIVING HARD, Allan is sure to find his music speaking to an ever-growing number of fans. "I want to reach even bigger audiences," he says. "I feel like I've got so much to say and so much to do right now and things are moving so fast. It's great to have something new to throw at people."
Most of all, he says, he just wants people to come along for the ride -- and hear the sounds of a life in progress. "It's a good listen, I think," he says. "I'm excited for people to hear it. It'll take you through a whole range of emotions, and I think it's going to take you on a journey. That's my goal."

Redemption through music is something Cory Morrow knows well after surviving nearly two decades in the rough and tumble music business. Battles with personal and professional demons inform Morrow's music in a manner that many performers don't have the experience to draw from. His wide ranging life experiences allow him to be a consummate singer/songwriter. He has the ability to write a tale about heartbreak as effortlessly as he can pen one about a carefree goodtime. That truth and authenticity is balanced by his infectious optimism and excitable personality.

A native of Houston, Morrow began playing guitar at a young age, but did not get serious about his music until attending college in Lubbock. Here, he was inspired by Texas songwriting greats like Robert Earl Keen and Townes Van Zandt. Spurred by this musical inspiration and a youthful vigor, Morrow moved to Austin in the early 90's to build his own career. Amidst a sea of night clubs featuring line dancing and Nashville hat acts dominating radio playlists, Morrow set about creating personal music that harkened back to the heyday of Willie Nelson's progressive country movement in the 70's.



Through several years of breakneck touring that featured Morrow's special brand of emotional and energetic live performances, he began to develop a large grassroots following. Coupled with the release of several successful independent albums and Morrow was really beginning to make a name for himself around Texas. By 1999, the music he was making with peers like Pat Green and Owen Temple was becoming a booming cottage industry and gaining nationwide notice. An acclaimed double album and a duets record with Green cemented Morrow's place in Lone Star lore.



Yet, he was not satisfied. The intensity that was found in his hallowed live performances was spilling over into his personal life. The depths he reached while reclaiming his life made him a more well-rounded artist. Over the next several years, Morrow grew his sound by working and writing with dizzying array of successful songwriters and producers.



Now, an elder statesman of the Texas scene he helped create, his latest album Brand New Me showcases an artist in complete control and making some of the best music of his storied career. Music started Morrow's journey and music has reinvigorated him. Behind these new songs and surrounded by a band of touring musicians among the best to be found anywhere, Morrow shows no signs of giving up his throne as one of the best Texas has to offer.

William Clark Green

With honest and personal lyrics, William Clark Green's music lures-in and relates his audience to real-life inspiration. Growing up in small-town Flint, Texas, Will started writing at thirteen. After some practice and encouragement, Will opened for The Dragliners in College Station. However, being only fourteen at the time, he forgot almost all the lyrics to his diligently-rehearsed show. But, with free guitar lessons at his hometown church and local shows, Will became more confident and prepared for larger venues. As a freshman at Texas Tech, Green got the chance to play the Monday-night spot at Recovery Room, eventually working his way up to the headlining show on Thursday nights. Friend and fellow songwriter Josh Abbott helped Green get his foot in the door at Blue Light in Lubbock, Texas. After playing many acoustic shows, Green started a band and recorded his first CD, "Dangerous Man," that released September 18, 2008. Will continues to play shows frequently across Texas with his band

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Gary Allan with Cory Morrow, William Clark Green

Friday, August 23 · Doors 7:30 PM / Show 8:00 PM at Whitewater Amphitheater