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Living Hard (Bonus Track Version)

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iTunes Review

California-native Gary Allan may have started out as a neo-traditionalist, but Living Hard is one of those contemporary country albums that’s basically rock dressed up with pedal steel and a down home drawl. The impressive opener, “Watching Airplanes,” mixes mandolin and slide with swooping strings, orchestra bells, and Beatleseque passages to create a huge pop sound. Allan’s charged vocals and the grand production (by Allan and Mark Wright) energize the track: it’s a classic example of upbeat music playing off of forlorn lyrics. “She’s So California,” one of a handful of tunes that Allan co-wrote, utilizes iconic California imagery to make its point — the music nods towards the country-rock of the Eagles and the songwriters toss in an earthquake metaphor to boot. You can hear traces of ZZ Top, Tom Petty and others 80s rockers on the album; “Half of My Mistakes” stands out as the most countryish song here but even that track features dirty electric guitar as well as sweet fiddle. “Learning How to Bend” might be the most personal song on Living Hard. It’s the sort of compelling cut that makes a listener zoom in on the singer’s words and quietly listen to what he has to say.

Customer Reviews

Another great album from Gary!

Another huge release from Gary Allan, and being a huge fan I was not disapointed. The more you listen to it the better it gets. 1. Watching Airplanes- Obvious #1 single material a great start to the album. 2. We Touched the Sun- A good song, but it kinda preps the next... 3. She's So California- Great song and I'm sure the girls from California will enjoy as well 4. Like It's a Bad Thing- Classic Gary right here 5. Learning How to Bend- A great song, possibly the next single, sort of Keith Urban style lyrics 6. As Long as You're...- Another solid Gary Allan song 7. Wrecking Ball- A great rocking song and a sure bar hit 8. Yesterday's Rain- From Gary's softer side and could fit on Tough All Over album 9. Trying to Matter- A great road trip song for the summer 10. Half of My Mistakes- Just another great country song 11. Living Hard- I can vouch for Gary when he says he is Living Hard after he killed half a bottle of Jack Daniels at his concert in Sacramento. 12. Memory on the Run- Girl leaves boy, boy is chasing girls memory. Classic country songs that is up beat and fun. Overall a great album I would defently suggest it to any fan of country music and Gary Allan!

I didn't think it was possible...

To love Gary Allan anymore, but it is. This album is AMAZING! If you are a long time fan (like me) its a great way to mix up your Gary collection. And If you are a new fan, it's a great place to start!! This is the next best thing to a concert. So much like the live show! Gary has done a great job here! Next I need a live album, and I'll be happy! Some of my favorites are, Watching Airplanes, We Touched The Sun, Like It's A Bad Thing, Learning How To Bend, Yesterday's Rain... They are all great! It is one of those cds you can put in, and just let it play. Buy it, you will NOT be dissapointed! GARY ROCKS!!!!

Rollin' Like the Stones, Lookin' Like Dylan

A wise man once said, "you got to check the set list to tell you what state [he's] in." Part musician, part philosopher, Gary delivers a high-energy selection of tracks that are worthy additions to the chronicles of Allan. Easily his most "live" in-studio album, "Living Hard" successfully bottles the immediacy of his live performances with 11 new cuts. Longtime fans, watch out, though - this one's a rocker. Allan is on a mission, once again showing off his inner-pioneer by introducing us to a retro-rock/country hybrid that celebrates and laments the rigors of life on the road. Though the dark clouds of "Tough All Over" have blown over, and the reactionary pop-i-ness of his Greatest Hits pack is a distant rumble of thunder, Allan clenses the pallet with this somewhat experimental, sometimes uneven, but ultimately enjoyable SoCal rock-in-cowboy-boots session. It's repeatable and all fusion from the getgo with orchestral overlays and "caramel colored skies" of "Watching Airplanes" and power-ballad "We Touched the Sun" to snarling junkyard guitars of the title track and "Like It's a Bad Thing" (an easy No.1 slam). At times Allan morphs into the very '70s-rock revivalist that he is inspired by - with great results. The demolishing beat of "Wrecking Ball" is reminiscent of Nazareth's "Hair of the Dog", the Tom Petty-esque delivery of "She's So California" whines and wanes Americana heartbreak, and the honest delivery of "Half of My Mistakes" sets Allan up to be this generation's Bob Dylan. Another great offering from a consummate performer. Keep living hard, Sir Gary, but not too hard...we want to hear from you again in a couple of years with a new album.


Born: December 5, 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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Living Hard (Bonus Track Version), Gary Allan
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