With the string of recognizable hits, the platinum records and the co-headlining tour with Sheryl Crow, it’s obvious that country star Gary Allan is at the top of his game. What may come as a surprise is that his recent smash, “Every Storm (Runs Out of Rain),” is his first No. 1 hit as a songwriter and that it comes 17 years after signing a record deal. In Backstory: Gary Allan, premiering Sunday, July 14 at 10/9c on Great American Country, viewers will hear from Gary and those who know him best – his mother, siblings, uncle, friend Kix Brooks and career team – about his laid-back success, his love of surfing and his turbulent personal life. The singer also shares extensive personal photographs that chronicle his life from childhood to today.
Gary Allan Herzberg grew up in what he calls a “perfect childhood” and although he was playing traditional country music alongside his father Harley at age 12, his dad put his foot down when his 15-year-old son was offered a major recording contract. “Dad said absolutely not,” Gary recalls. “He said if you’re getting offered a record deal now, you’ll get offered a record deal again.” There was an early marriage, children, construction work and then divorce which eventually sent him back to music. Signed to a major record label, Gary’s first single, “Her Man,” was released in 1996 and those early years proved challenging. “I’m used to playing packed clubs and the next thing you know, I’m in Reunion Arena, playing to 14 people going, ‘How does this happen?’” But he kept his band working for two years despite advice to come off the road.
Things began to turn around and Gary shares with viewers his unusual response to a ‘Sexiest Man in country music’ nod from People magazine as well as the Brady Bunch-like blending of his children, step children and their moms. He digs deep to share a heartfelt account of the darkest period in his life following the suicide of his wife Angela and the year spent focusing on the well-being of their children following such a tragic loss. “I just wanted to make sure that everybody got back on their feet,” he said. When he was finally able to step back into the studio, he recorded Tough All Over, an album he calls “the most expensive therapy ever.”
Seventeen years after signing a record deal, Gary is on the radio with the biggest hit of his career. “We knew we had a song about hope as we were writing it,” he said of his recent No. 1, “Every Storm (Runs Out of Rain).” “We were very aware not to have any negative lines in it.” Perhaps Gary is the least surprised at this latest career surge. “I’ve always known I didn’t want to be the latest, greatest thing because that never lasts. I always wanted to be the George Strait or the Willie Nelson that’s just sort of chugging back here because you turn around one day and go, ‘He’s been here for 30 years’ and that’s how I want to do it.”