Gary Allan | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

comment

The slinkiest sexy song of last year came from one of those cowboy-hatted journeymen even country fans have trouble telling apart: Gary Allan's "Nothing On but the Radio" was a late-night sway hooked to the sort of mild, self-explanatory pun that's Nashville's gift to the American vernacular. Here was just the thing for middle-aged marrieds seeking a nonchemical cure for erectile dysfunction, sung in the warm, husky voice of a man comfortable enough in his masculinity not to be all pushy and macho about it, and smooth and experienced enough not to confuse hyperventilation with heavy breathing. With that song--and the rest of his most recent album, See if I Care (MCA Nashville)--Allan made good on a decade's worth of potential, finally balancing his easy-rocking yet intense Bakersfield sound with the required Music City radio friendliness. The wordplay doesn't always sparkle--lines like "When tough little boys grow up to be dads / They turn into big babies again" should be left to full-time cornballs like Kenny Chesney. But someone in Allan's camp has great taste in songwriters: on his hit "Songs About Rain," he transcends meteorological cliches in the bravest manner possible--by burying himself in them all the way up to his tear ducts. John Eddie opens. Thu 5/12, 9 PM, Joe's, 940 W. Weed, 312-337-3486 or 312-559-1212, sold out.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Tony Baker.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  →