by Robert Bell
8 p.m. Magic Springs' Timberwood Amphitheater. $50-$60.
Gary Allan seems to occupy a space in between dyed-in-the-wool honky tonk traditionalists like Dwight Yoakam and the empty-calorie pop Nashville's been turning out for the last couple of decades. He was making recognizable country when recognizable country wasn't cool, and he still is.
On his most recent long-player, last year's "Set You Free," Allan opts for just a touch more pop polish (though it's grafted onto a set of mostly upbeat rockers). That album featured Allan's first self-penned No. 1 hit, the pensive "Every Storm (Runs Out of Rain)." Allan is the subject of an upcoming Great American Country channel special in which he opens up about the setbacks and tragedies he's faced during his long career, including the suicide of his wife.
This fall, Allan will hit the road with Sheryl Crow, who'll be promoting her forthcoming country debut. Allan is also playing Friday night in Fayetteville at the Arkansas Music Pavilion, with Backroad Anthem opening the show.