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Get Off On the Pain

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Album Review

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.


Born: 05 December 1967 in La Mirada, CA

Genre: Country

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Gary Allan hit the honky tonk circuit in his native Southern California at the seasoned age of 12. Playing in and out of the smoky, sweaty bars with his dad's band led Allan to follow in his father's footsteps and start his own band. When Allan returned to those same honky tonks with his own combo, the sound was true Bakersfield country: Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, and the rest. Allan spent most of his twenties honing his skills as a new traditionalist country singer; finally, in 1996, he was picked...
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