Gary Allan
Set You Free


3.0
good

Review

by Alex Beebe USER (126 Reviews)
February 5th, 2013 | 10 replies | 1,179 views


Release Date: 01/22/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Venturing down the same dirt road with more grey hairs showing this time around, but finding success all the same.

Age has never been something known for bringing a halt to, or even slowing down country musician's careers. Those who can’t manage to stay as enigmatically youthful and inspired as Toby Keith when they hit 50 usually wind down and settle into a comfortably acoustic and bluesy state for the remainder of their careers, preventing their elderly-status from eroding the quality of their music. On his ninth album Set You Free, Gary Allan has proved himself to be sort of a combination of both personas; an artist who willingly wields the experience and wisdom of a true veteran, but never allows the fact that he mostly found success in the past make him seem like a has-been or close to retirement. Set You Free defines Allan as both a country sage, and a middle-aged man that still has a lot of youth left in him and is far from done being loud.

Allan aims high for radio hits on the first few tracks, giving his guitar a workout by bringing out the electric power ballads right out of the gate. The usual crisp atmosphere of the slick melodies in “Every Storm (Runs Out of Rain)” are traits that have always made Allan’s music a refresher from the usual dusty and twangy ballads from the younger modern wave of countrymen. Set You Free is a much more clean and smooth album out of a genre that thrives off of, and relishes in a rustic reputation, and similar to John Mayer and Keith Urban, that method still works effectively in separating Allan from the crowd and heightening his appeal to fans of a more adult contemporary sound as well.

The reflective singer-songwriter moments are not in short supply by any means, but the difference from the norm here is that Allan doesn’t feel like he’s done or nearing the end of his journey in the music bizz when he’s recollecting his past. A reminiscent attitude of passing days, while keeping in bright spirits of the years to come is something that makes Set You Free play as a record free from any constraints or doubts. Though while he yields success in them, there seems to be an overabundance of these ballads. “Bones” is the only real rocker to be found here, and even if it does romp enough to merit returning listens, the same energy might have helped Set You Free seem more exuberant overall.

Set You Free doesn’t chart any new territory for Allan, and it could use some differentiation throughout, but Allan has managed to mine the same hole from an adjusted perspective that works very well, and on this outing, doing what he does best is so fresh that it dismisses any wrinkles he may have while doing so.



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user ratings (2)
Chart.
3.3
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
breakingthefragile
February 5th 2013



2950 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

First country review since that really bad Aaron Lewis album. I should review more good country music.

Digging: Glassjaw - Everything You Ever Wanted To Know...

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
February 5th 2013



4383 Comments


Good review, Alex. I've never really heard country music , except for the latter albums by The Byrds and Gram Parson's stuff. Oh
and that "Redneck Woman" song that I tend to look up on youtube a lot.

Anyway, POS'd.

breakingthefragile
February 5th 2013



2950 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

You and me can't give or receive pos's from each other anymore buddy, but hey, it's the thought that counts man haha.

YankeeDudel
February 5th 2013



9305 Comments


Paper check out 16 Horsepower, Wovenhand, Jay Munly and all his side projects, The Builders and the Butchers, Tarantella, and The Coffinshakers for some good country. Its more "gothic" or "alt" country but thats why I like it.

Digging: Bedhead - WhatFunLifeWas

breakingthefragile
February 5th 2013



2950 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Those are all awesome recs Yankee.

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
February 5th 2013



4383 Comments


@Breaking
Yeah, I noticed that after my comment. A lot changes going on around here.

@Yankee
I'll check them, could you recommend your favourite albums? I like country rock (Well The Grateful Dead and Gram Parson kind of stuff), so I'm willing to to give them a good try.

YankeeDudel
February 5th 2013



9305 Comments


16 Horsepower - Sackcloth n Ashes, Secret South
Woven Hand - Blush Music, Consider the Birds
Jay Munly - Munly & the Lee Lewis Harlots, Jimmy Carter Syndrome
Tarantella - Esqueletos
The Builders and the Butchers - Salvation is a Deep Dark Well
The Coffinshakers - S/T

Just check these when you got the time. They're def different than most country Ive heard.

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
February 5th 2013



4383 Comments


I'll give them a listen, and I'll let you know what I think. Just looked up "Black Soul Choir" by 16 Horsepower, digging the banjo playing.

breakingthefragile
February 5th 2013



2950 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Well, I actually consider 16 Horsepower and Woven Hand to be folk music, but still, great stuff.

YankeeDudel
February 5th 2013



9305 Comments


Well they're listed as alt/gothic country everywhere I look but yea folk and country arent much different anyway.



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