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Gary Allan Shows Off his 'Nonconformist' Ways in <i>See If I Care</i> - 2004-04-13

Country singer Gary Allan has achieved slow but steady growth in his music career during the past eight years. The 36-year-old is critical of the recent trends in Country music, which he refers to as "fluff." And, he says he'll continue to remain true to his Country roots, regardless of being labeled a "nonconformist." The rising Country star has a new album, See If I Care.

Gary Allan grew up in sunny California, where he spent his youth surfing in the Pacific Ocean. Nicknamed "the surfing cowboy," he still lives in his home state with his wife and six children, far from Country music's Nashville base. His country-rock style was influenced by his love of traditional Country artists like George Jones, Buck Owens and Merle Haggard, and Southern California rock acts Jane's Addiction, The Blasters and X.

Gary recorded several minor hits in the late-1990s. But, it was his fourth album, 2001's Alright Guy, that brought him to a new level of popularity. It included the Top 5 Country single "The One", and Gary's first Number One hit, "Man To Man." That success was followed by another chart-topper - his latest album's debut single, "Tough Little Boys."

The Number One success of "Tough Little Boys" helped Gary Allan's new CD, See If I Care, become his fastest-selling collection to date. Just six months after its release, the album reached U.S. shipments of 500,000 copies, giving Gary his third gold record.

The album combines elements of honky-tonk, rock and alternative Country. Gary included one cover song, Jesse Winchester's "A Showman's Life," which he recorded as a duet with Willie Nelson.

Gary spends much of his time performing shows across the U.S., so he knows firsthand the hardships of life on the road. His next round of concert dates begin April 9, and he's expected to tour for most of 2004.

Gary hopes the hard work will help him become Country music's next superstar. He says, "I think we walk the line between commercial success and critical acclaim. It's made our career start slower, but I think we'll be around a lot longer."

Gary's latest hit mentions the titles of popular 1960s and '70s songs by Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson, Brook Benton, George Hamilton the Fourth, and The Fortunes.