Making music is a creative exercise, right? True, but when you're doing it professionally you have to take business into account, as well. Gary Allan, who has made eight albums over the course of his illustrious, 16-year career, may have seen it all, but he's still learning as he goes.

While working on his upcoming, as-yet-untitled album, the singer-songwriter split up the recording, rather than laying down all the tracks at one time. "It was really interesting to break it down and only do a few songs at a time and then wait a few months, as opposed to trying to doing a whole album at once," he tells Sioux Falls, S.D., newspaper the Argus Leader. "The song quality was a lot better, because some of those songs that would've been number eight, nine and 10 were done later with a fresh approach. You start recording fresh, and sometimes you learn to like them more by then, so the process is lot better."

This time around, Gary went into the studio for three separate sessions, producing five of the songs himself, having Mark Wright produce several, and teaming with Jay Joyce for the rest. In addition, the California native's latest project was also affected by recent personnel moves at his record label, Universal Music Group.

"They were switching label heads, so I just went ahead and cut my whole record before the new people got in," Gary told the paper with a laugh, explaining the reason he took an "independent" approach in recording.

It seems the modern day cowboy has never done things quite like his musical peers but rather like his musical heroes, such as Merle Haggard whom Gary describes as his "absolute favorite." He also cites Buck Owens among his early influences, and remembers paying homage to the legend in honky tonks since the age of 12.

"I really like the old stuff that I cut my musical teeth on, and I loved it when the industry was just like that, without really a genre," he notes. "Today, country radio's more aimed at a demographic than a genre. It just softens everything."

This project appears to be the complete opposite. "It's a really up album. It's a more rocking album than I've ever done," Gary told Maine newspaper the Bangor Daily News. "It covers everything from breaking up to healing. The first song is called 'A Tough Goodbye' and it really goes from there. It goes from anger to healing."

The project is expected out later this year, with Gary previewing some of the new music on the Country Throwdown tour. Get a full list of dates on the trek here, and read the full Argus Leader article on Gary here.

Watch Gary Allan's "Today" Video
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