Next time someone tells you they hate new country (right before they tell you they hate rap), ask them about Gary Allan
. They'll start kicking themselves for ignoring one of the hardest country singers to chart since Ray Price and George Jones ruled the jukeboxes. With a crackling tenor that recalls early Steve Earle and a steely swing that recalls his Bakersfield influences, Allan subverts the Nashville paradigm like a mole in a ten-gallon Stetson. The funky, electric-piano boogie "Nothing On but the Radio" only sounds dumb if you fixate on the chorus, while "Best I Ever Had" only sounds
like a Bryan Adams power-ballad in the background.