DIARY - 23 OCTOBER 2005 - GARY ALLAN UPDATE
ALLAN AND DANNY O'KEEFE
TALE OF TWO CULTURES
got back from hell and I'm standing here alive/ I know it's really hard
to tell/ don't know how I survived." - I Just Got Back From Hell
- Gary Allan-Harley Allen
Allan & Cheyne Horan
for the tours by Californian born country star Gary Allan and legendary
peer Danny O'Keefe could be excused for thinking Victoria is the Bermuda
Triangle of all great talent.
Allan, 37, cracked #1 on the U.S. Billboard Country charts and bumped
off diverse rivals when he reached #3 on the Top 200 rock albums the debut
week of his sixth disc Tough All Over.
Allan's album sold 99,662 copies in its first week, leaving it behind
only Alicia Keys and Nickelback.
It was the eve of his Geelong concert on Saturday October 22 and a Churchill
Saloon gig on the Sabbath.
But despite such an amazing feat, Allan was ignored by local radio with
the exception of David Heard on Acid Country on PBS - 106.7 - who presented
a top shelf interview with Troy Cassar-Daley.
Pay TV channel CMC broke the Allan boycott mould by airing Allan's videos
on high rotation.
Nu Country TV also aired Allan's most recent Top 10 hit Best I Ever
Had - penned by Matthew Scannell and previously recorded by Vertical
Horizon in 1999.
The mainstream media was equally silent despite having feature stories
and photos of Allan solo and with former World Masters Surfing Champion
One newspaper decided the singer didn't fit its young pop demographic
despite his sales dwarfing rock artists with unlimited radio exposure.
Beat magazine ran a CD review in which Allan explained the tragedy that
prompted four of his original songs.
But the chart topping news was too late for its deadline.
Allan's third wife Angela suicided almost 12 months ago so he exorcised
his grief in songwriting.
Gary dedicated his huge selling album to his late wife and included a
Suicide 1-800 number on its sleeve.
original songs, I Just Got Back From Hell, No Damn Good and
Puttin' Memories Away, are salient signposts to his suffering.
"Your whole life, all your plans come to a halt," Allan
recalled of the single gunshot that ended his wife's life at their
Nashville home at 1.20 a.m. on October 25, 2004.
"And you need to start over again. I was definitely in a place
that I had never been, by a long shot, when I made this record. I
was in total devastation. But I couldn't ignore what had happened.
To me, that's what country music is. It's all in the centre of real
four songs with co-producer Mark Wright before the tragedy.
"So I had started writing again, and then when she passed writing
songs became a healing process for me," says Allan whose six million
album sales won him a loyal following here.
"It was the most expensive therapy I've ever had. All my records
are personal, but this is by far my most personal record. Recording this
album was an emotional experience because everything we were cutting on
that second round dealt directly with what I was feeling.
Five songs during those sessions talked openly and honestly about what
I was going through. I wanted to be certain that the songs communicated
my feelings respectfully. It was almost like letting go. Every writing
session that I was in was therapeutic because I was dealing with raw emotions
and talking about my feelings. I reached inside myself to get some honest
life into these songs."
raised with the West Coast bands/ I don't change for anyone, I stay the
way I am/ I don't do this for fame, I do this for me/ it soothes my soul
and keeps my sanity/ I'll only be here for today/ putting my misery on
display." - Putting My Misery On Display - Gary Allan.
Putting My Misery On Display after talking to singer Jamie O'Hara
of The O'Kanes who penned George Jones classic Cold Hard Truth.
Ironically, the conversation preceded the tragedy.
"We just got into one of those big philosophical discussions about
the music industry, and how it sometimes works against you as an artist,"
"Jamie was talking about the things he thought that it took from
him. And said, 'man, it took some things from you, too. When's the last
time you wrote by yourself?'
It was before his belated breakthrough after discovery as a teenage honky
"Damn, it was before I had a record contract," Allan recalled.
"I think I was 26 and had just gotten my first publishing deal. I
was in a room, writing with somebody different every day, and I got so
disenchanted and burned-out that I quit writing by myself. Anyway, Jamie
brought it to my attention, and I felt inspired to start writing again."
Allan recorded O'Hara song Nickajack Cave about a dramatic turning
point in Johnny Cash's life after drugs and alcohol had "him strung
out on the ropes."
Allan headlined Gympie Muster and Tamworth on previous tours - hits include
Smoke Rings In The Dark, Nothing But The Radio On, Tough Little Boys,
Man To Man and Songs About Rain.
This week he returns to Queensland where Lee Kernaghan hosts him at his
2,000-seat arena at his Great Western Hotel in Rockhampton.
We'll run a review of his Geelong concert with photos too hot for mainstream
Allan, like O'Keefe, digs deep into his psyche for his passionate songs
that have stood the test of time.
CLICK HERE for a DANNY O'KEEFE tour preview.
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