Picks and Pans Review: Gary Allan

updated 11/07/2005 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/07/2005 AT 01:00 AM EST


Tough All Over

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The key track on this album is "Putting My Misery on Display," which is exactly what Allan does on Tough All Over. The singer's wife, Angela, committed suicide last year after a battle with depression, and from the painfully rueful "I Just Got Back from Hell" and "Life Ain't Always Beautiful" to the devoted "He Can't Quit Her" and the resigned "Puttin' Memories Away," Allan's songs address the traumatic turn his life has taken. Yet the album is never merely maudlin; Allan seems to be celebrating Angela's life as much as he is mourning her death. Still, anyone looking for a romp on the beach had best consult Kenny Chesney or Jimmy Buffett. As for Allan, he deserves a tip of your 10-gallon hat for bravely dealing with his pain.

DOWNLOAD THIS: "Life Ain't Always Beautiful"

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