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Review: Gary Allan Brings Edgy Cool to 2016 Taste of Country Music Festival

Gary Allan brought a very individual style of country music to the 2016 Taste of Country Music Festival on Sunday night (June 12) in New York.

Allan and his band took the stage on the final night of the three-day country music and camping festival, following a day of music from Outshyne, Neal McCoy and Chris Janson. Allan owns one of the most distinctive voices in the genre, and he put it to  good use at Hunter Mountain, delivering one powerful vocal performance after another on a diverse set of songs unlike those of any other commercially successful performer in country music.

Clad in jeans and a black leather jacket, Allan delivered a set heavy on darker, brooding material like “Watching Airplanes,” “Man to Man,” “Get Off on the Pain” and “Songs About Rain,” among a long line of other hits. He’s like a modern-day Johnny Cash, not just singing about people’s pain, but seemingly sharing in it, and thousands of fans who had braved the unseasonably low temperatures and light rain that moved into the area on Sunday responded fervently to his powerful set.

“Everyone think warm thoughts,” Allan dryly instructed the fans after finishing “Nothin’ on But the Radio.” He and his band kept warm by openly swigging Jack Daniel’s from a bottle that they passed around onstage while they played.

They balanced harder rocking songs with the edgy cool of material like “Smoke Rings in the Dark,” “The Best I Ever Had,” “She’s So California” and “Do You Wish It Was Me,” the lead single from a new studio album Allan has finished and turned in to his label.

They finished up with “It Ain’t the Whiskey,” “Songs About Rain” and “Right Where I Need to Be,” leaving the crowd happy and still anticipating a full set from Sunday night headliner Jake Owen to finish up ToC Fest 2016

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