TONIGHT: Gary Allan brings ‘Ruthless’ to the Rose

After an eight-year gap between albums, Gary Allen, performing at Rose Music Center in Huber Heights on Friday, Sept. 10, returned to the top of the country charts with the release of “Ruthless” on June 25.
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After an eight-year gap between albums, Gary Allen, performing at Rose Music Center in Huber Heights on Friday, Sept. 10, returned to the top of the country charts with the release of “Ruthless” on June 25.

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Country singer returns to top of the charts

While there were eight long years between albums, it was clear from the immediate success of “Ruthless” that country music fans were still hungry for new music from Gary Allan. The multi-platinum artist, performing at Rose Music Center in Huber Heights on Friday, Sept. 10, returned to the top of the charts when the album debuted at number one on the Current Country Album Charts upon its release by EMI Nashville on June 25.

Allen recently answered some questions about life during the coronavirus shutdowns and the success of “Ruthless,” which is his 10th album and the ninth to reach the country Top 10.

Q: Congrats on the success of “Ruthless.” How does it feel to know you’re still connecting with country music fans after all this time?

A: I take a lot of pride in the fact the fans have responded to “Ruthless” the way they have. I released my first single, “Her Man,” in 1996. I’ve been steadily touring since then and thankfully have fans that have been with me from the beginning and many more that have come along since that first release. Knowing that they continue to appreciate my music and my shows is a great feeling.

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Q: You hadn’t released an album in eight years and you were pulling material from three different recording sessions; what was your approach to compiling and sequencing what became the album?

A: My last album was released in 2013 and I started cutting new material in 2014. As we recorded, I kept listening and trying to see which songs I liked the most. It changed quite often but once we did the last sessions in January of 2020, I started listening to all of them over and over. I have this process of writing the song titles on pieces of paper and then shuffling them around on the counter. After a while, I will pull certain songs out of the mix and keep doing that until I am down to 10 or 12, or in the case of “Ruthless,” 13 titles. From there I try to put them in an order of how I would play them live. It sometimes takes a few days, but once I have it set, that is the album sequence.

Q: What were you doing when the pandemic shut things down in March 2020?

A: In late January, I headed out on a bucket list trip to Africa that I had booked in 2019. We were in Africa for two weeks and we were not really keeping up with the news. We didn’t realize just how bad COVID had gotten in the US until we returned home. I did three shows after returning and then the world shut down.

Q: I know you quarantined at home and then spent time in the Dominican Republic before you were able to get vaccinated. What did you do to occupy yourself during those pre-vaccine days?

A: When things first shut down, I kind of went into a funk. I didn’t want to write or play music at home. I had everything delivered and tried not to leave the house unless I had to do so. A friend of mine has a boat in the Dominican Republic and kept asking me to come down there. I was hesitant at first but by the end of December, I was ready to go. We stayed on the boat and went fishing and cruising around during the day. All of the resorts were basically empty so we would sometimes go eat at their outdoor restaurants. Once the vaccine was available, I came home and started working on the album release.

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Q: How did it feel to get back out there in July and perform in front of audiences?

A: It was a long 462 days from my last show in 2020 to my first show back in 2021 at Billy Bob’s in Fort Worth, Texas. It was an amazing feeling to walk out on that stage and see my fans and hear them singing back to me. I knew I missed live shows but I didn’t realize how much until that moment. It feels so great to be back on tour.

Contact this contributing writer at 937-287-6139 or e-mail at donthrasher100@gmail.com.

HOW TO GO

Who: Gary Allan

Where: Rose Music Center, 6800 Executive Blvd., Huber Heights

When: 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 10. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Cost: $23.50-$62

More info: 513-232-6220 or www.rosemusiccenter.com

Artist info: garyallan.com