February 17, 2010
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Seven years after his debut single hit the charts, Gary Allan’s career was showing serious signs of heating up. His previous two studio albums had gone platinum and he had the year before scored his first #1 on the Hot Country Songs chart. Consequently, he was nominated for the CMA’s Horizon Award just before his fifth album, See If I Care, hit stores in September 2003. Like its predecessor, See If I Care would give Gary another platinum frame for his wall, and would spawn 2 chart-toppers and another top 15 hit. The album debuted at its peak on the Billboard Country Albums chart at a respectable #2 slot, meanwhile scratching the top 20 in the all-genre chart.
‘Drinkin’ Dark Whiskey’, the rocking album opener finds the singer drowning his sorrows with black label whiskey while telling all his friends and fellow barflies white lies about how happy he is. The Steeldrivers would later record a bluegrass version of the tune.
‘I Can’t Do It Today’ is a John Rich co-write with fellow Muzik Mafia members Vicky McGehee (a member of the Gretchen Wilson posse) and Rodney Clawson. Gary slips into falsetto vocals perhaps a little too often in the bluesy kiss-off number, and the melody is a little clunky. It’s placement at the beginning of the set is awkward as it is definite filler.
Gary would earn his second consecutive #1 with the album’s lead single, the poignant ‘Tough Little Boys’. The almost-saccharine lyric is a bit of a departure from the material we’re used to hearing from Allan. It’s a neat, three-act story song revolving around the story of a little boy who grows up and hurts and cries again when he becomes a dad. The message of just how much macho men love their families, but can’t put their feelings into words, has always resonated well with the country audience and this is certainly one of the better attempts at tugging at country fans’ heartstrings.
The disc’s title track is more akin to the sound Allan had crafted for himself in previous albums. ‘See If I Care’ finds the singer hiding his heartache with mock sarcasm. The burning delivery from Gary gives real character to the brilliant Jamie O’Hara lyric.
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