Gary Allan headlines GarCo Fair
If You Go...
Who: Gary Allan
When: 7 p.m. on Friday
Where: Outdoor arena, Garfield County Fair
How Much: $10-60, available online at http://bit.ly/1HtRAmw
When country artist Gary Allan’s first album came out in 1996, he hoped for a lifelong career in music, but he wasn’t sure if it would happen.
“I always wanted to have this steady career — something like Willie,” Allan said. “I used to say, ‘I hope I am around 20 years from now.’ Well, now it has been 20 years, so I hope I am here at least another 20. I love what I do, and as long as the fans keep coming out to support me, I will keep showing up to play.”
Fans in Garfield County will certainly come out to support the country star when he takes the Garfield County Fair stage at 7 p.m. on Friday. Allan is the biggest name the fair has ever booked, with more than 7 million albums sold throughout his career. His albums have been certified platinum and gold five times in a row, and he has four No. 1 singles under his belt.
Allan said playing live is his favorite part of being a musician, and fair crowds are some of the best he ever gets to perform for.
“I make music to play it live; there is nothing like walking on that stage each night and playing music,” he said. “It is hard to describe, but when the fans are singing your songs back to you, it is a high like no other. I feed off of the crowd and their energy, and fair crowds are always on their feet and ready for a good time. When you know that going in, you know it is going to be a great show.”
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Music has always been a part of Allan’s life.
“My parents had albums playing all the time in the house, and we had instruments sitting out in the living room that were never put away,” he said. “My dad felt if they were sitting out in plain sight as opposed to being stored in a closet, we would be more inclined to pick them up and play. He was right, and my brother and I both did that.”
Allan started his first band, The Herzbergs (his real last name), with his dad and brother when he was a young teenager. The trio would play shows at bars, when it was allowed.
“There was a law in California that the stage had to be so many inches off the floor for a minor to be able to play,” he said. “If I wasn’t on stage, I had to stand outside. We did that night after night.”
Playing to large crowds at county fairs and in arenas and concert halls is the norm now for Allan, but he said his experience as a teenage musician made him who he is.
“Playing in those bars helped shape me into who I am today,” he said. “I learned to play for the people who loved me, the people who hated me and for myself. We don’t get to play a lot of bars anymore, but when we do, I love it, and I try to make the most of it. It takes me back to those nights in California, and we usually have one hell of a good time.”
Allan stands out among well-known country singers because of his genuine sound. A songwriter, Allan puts out music that deals with classic country themes: love, loss and whiskey — sometimes all in one song.
“I write about things I have lived, and it is a form of therapy for me,” he said. “I wake up and ask myself if I have something to say today. If I do, then I sit down and write about it. If I don’t, then I do something else with my day. It is all about what I feel. I think that is what makes writing important.”
Fans can look forward to Allan’s 10th studio album, as yet untitled, which he said is still being finished up but he hopes to get out to the fans soon.
“I think each new album I do is a reflection of where I am in my life,” he said. “This one is no different. There are a lot of classic sounding ‘Gary Allan’ songs, and I went back to the sounds that inspired the ‘Smoke Rings’ album a bit, so you have a little Motown, R&B feel as well. It is a mix of all of my inspirations and still manages to be me. I’m happy with it and excited to get it out there.”
In the meantime, Allan is happy to tour and make a stop at the Garfield County Fair.
“Colorado is a beautiful state,” he said. “I always look forward to playing there.”
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