Gary Allan is getting ready to release his latest album, Set You Free, early next year, and has remained mostly out of the spotlight as he worked on the new tunes for the project. While he's certainly at home on the concert stage, Gary became increasingly more in need of his privacy, especially after the suicide of his wife, Angela, in 2004.

"I'm really private, and also, when I'm home, I'm home," Gary told The Boot and other reporters recently at an album preview event. "I don't like people in on my business. I believe that you can be overexposed. The people you see all the time, they're not going to be around very long. When my wife passed, I stopped doing interviews and I stopped doing meet-and-greets, mostly because I sort of became this suicide ambassador. Everybody wanted to tell me their story. I realize that's how people share with you. It's their way of bonding and getting close, but before shows I was hearing 10 or 12 stories like that, and I was like, 'I can't do this every day,' so I ended up pulling back. I enjoyed not doing them."

The singer admits, however, that he may have hidden from fans a little too long. "I milked it a lot longer than I should have. I think George Strait would say the same thing. He went through that with losing his child [George's daughter Jenifer was killed in a 1986 accident]. He pulled back and didn't talk, and that's all anybody wanted to talk about."

Gary says he recovered from the terrible tragedy by doing what he loved best -- playing music. "For me, it was the best therapy in the world. You sit around and kick around every emotion that you're having. The first record after that [Tough All Over], that was the most expensive therapy in the world. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in there crying, trying to get a bunch of stuff on tape."

Gary has sage advice for others who have experienced a devastating loss. "It always gets better, no matter what. Time will knock it out of you. You have to want to get better, too. I see some people that just want to stay there. That's what therapy gets you ... you're able to talk about it. I know some people who have lost people and you can't hardly even say that person's name without them crumbling, so that's what you get. Keep walking forward."

Gary is playing a series of shows throughout the remainder of the year. See a list of his upcoming concert dates here.

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