By the Way

Gary Allan to bring modern honky tonk sound to the Beau

Gary Allan will be at the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino on Friday night at 8 p.m.
Gary Allan will be at the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino on Friday night at 8 p.m. COURTESY PHOTO

Country singer Gary Allan released his debut album “Used Heart for Sale,” which featured the single “Her Man,” 20 years ago. Since then, Allan has released several albums that have gone platinum, with 26 hit singles, including “Nothing On But The Radio.”

One of Allan’s best-known songs, “Watching Airplanes,” has some strong ties to Mississippi. One of the song’s writers is Jonathan Singleton, who went to school at Northeast Mississippi Community College in Booneville, which is about 30 minutes north of Tupelo.

I’ve seen Singleton perform the song with his band the Grove on “Saturday Mornin’ with Kay Bain,” which was the weekend version of the long-running “Mornin’ Show with Buddy and Kay Bain” on WTVA in Tupelo.

“Watching Airplanes,” along with Billy Currington’s “Let Me Down Easy,” and Zac Brown Band’s “Whatever It Is,” were some of the songs my wife and I listened to when we were courting.

Allan at the Beau

Allan recently released the single “Do You Wish It Was Me?”, which is the first song from his upcoming album. Allan will be bringing his modern honky-tonk country sound to the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi at 8 p.m. Friday.

Tickets start at $49.95 and are available at ticketmaster.com.

There are a limited number of general admission floor tickets left, but remember — the Beau releases all extra tickets to every show at 6 p.m. at the box office.

We lost the best when we lost Merle.

Gary Allan

I recently interviewed Allan about his new album, the song “Watching Airplanes,” Merle Haggard and other subjects.

How’s the new album coming along? Will it be released this year?

I’m finished with the new album and have turned it in to the label. We just released the first single, “Do You Wish It Was Me?” We don’t have a release date for the album yet. I’m just excited to finally have new music out there.

I’ve always liked the sound of your recordings, especially the keyboards on “Nothing On But the Radio” and the new single “Do You Wish it Was Me?” Do you record with the same band you tour with?

Thanks, I appreciate that. I used my road band on “Set You Free” and on this new album, but those are the first times. Prior to that, I had pretty much used the same studio musicians on every album.

“Watching Airplanes” is co-written by Jonathan Singleton, who has some strong ties to North Mississippi. How did you come across that song?

Jim Beavers is the other co-writer on “Watching Airplanes.” He brought a demo of the song to my manager and wanted me to hear it before it got pitched around to a lot of other acts. Jonathan was actually singing the demo and I loved the song and his voice. That is how I was first introduced to him.

You really reinvented “Her Man,” which was your first single. Were you a fan of Waylon Jennings’ version of the song?

I was and still am a huge Waylon fan. I knew “Her Man” from Waylon’s “The Eagle” album, but Mark Wright actually pitched it to me to cut for “Used Heart for Sale.”

Any good memories of playing in Biloxi or on the Gulf Coast?

We always have a great time in Biloxi. The fans in the Gulf Coast area always treat us well.

Merle Haggard: Did you ever meet him or do a show with him? Do you think his death has left a void in country music?

Merle was my hero and there will never be another Hag. Over the years, we did several shows with Merle, and it was always a huge honor for me to share the stage with him. We lost the best when we lost Merle.

Who’s your favorite singer and what song do you wish you had written?

Merle is definitely my favorite singer and songwriter. He was the best. If I could have written anything by him, it would have been “Misery and Gin.” He just had a way with words and music that no one else can even come close to.

Allan at the Beau

What: Gary Allan in concert

Where: Beau Rivage Resort & Casino

When: 8 p.m. Friday

Tickets: start at $49.95 and are available at ticketmaster.com; There are a limited number of general admission floor tickets left, but remember — the Beau releases all extra tickets to every show at 6 p.m. at the box office.

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