Smoke Rings in the Dark

Smoke Rings in the Dark

5.0 10
by Gary Allan
     
 
Imagine Chris Isaak gone country, with the twanging guitars and moody ambiance intact, and you get close to where Gary Allan's coming from on his third album, SMOKE RINGS IN THE DARK. That's not a criticism -- Allan's songs aren't by the usual Nashville tunesmiths, and his sound isn't the typical commercial mainstream; rather, he stakes out a turf that embraces hard

Overview

Imagine Chris Isaak gone country, with the twanging guitars and moody ambiance intact, and you get close to where Gary Allan's coming from on his third album, SMOKE RINGS IN THE DARK. That's not a criticism -- Allan's songs aren't by the usual Nashville tunesmiths, and his sound isn't the typical commercial mainstream; rather, he stakes out a turf that embraces hard country, with traces of contemporary country production flourishes cropping up here and there. Allan's subject matter is the man alone -- loving, losing, and persevering against the elements as he tries to make an honest stand. "Smoke Rings In the Dark" is an acutely well-observed account of a man going gently into that good night at the end of an ill-fated affair. "Don't Tell Mama" might be a broadside aimed at drunk drivers, but it's also a classic country song of whiskey, mama, and steel guitar. Kevin Welch's bittersweet recollection of doomed affair, "Cryin' For Nothin'," gets a steely edge thanks to the fire in Allan's expressive baritone. In a real acid test, Allan transforms Del Shannon's "Runaway" into a barn burner with a honky-tonk edge. Allan sounds a little bit like Tim McGraw, a little bit like Clint Black, and a whole lot like an artist who's in it for the long haul.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Gary Allan grows better and more assured with each album, and his third record, Smoke Rings in the Dark, is his best effort yet. Similar to the Mavericks, Allan stylishly blends a number of roots styles, from his signature Bakersfield country to dusty folk and pop crooning, into a neo-traditionalist sound that is curiously out of time. Allan is considerably more mainstream than the Mavericks, which means that the production is more polished and he doesn't really take musical risks. Even if he doesn't quite hold his own against some Americana artists, he certainly is stronger than many contemporary country artists, especially since he tries many different styles and sounds throughout Smoke Rings in the Dark. Not every song works, but even those that don't have still something recommendable in their performance or production. It's a fine album from an artist that keeps getting better.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/26/1999
Label:
Mca Nashville
UPC:
0008817010120
catalogNumber:
170101
Rank:
42365

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Gary Allan   Primary Artist,Vocals
Steve Gibson   Electric Guitar
Marilyn Martin   Background Vocals
John Wesley Ryles   Background Vocals
David Campbell   Conductor
Chad Cromwell   Drums
Dan Dugmore   Acoustic Guitar,Pedal Steel Guitar
Randy Hardison   Background Vocals
Steve Nathan   Piano,Keyboards
Michael Rhodes   Bass
Brent Rowan   Electric Guitar
Hank Singer   Fiddle
Lisa Silver   Background Vocals
Harry Stinson   Background Vocals
Bergen White   Background Vocals
John Willis   Acoustic Guitar
Curtis Young   Background Vocals
Christy Cornelius   Background Vocals
Lisa Cochran   Background Vocals
Wynn Varble   Background Vocals
Brice Long   Background Vocals
Jake Kelly   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar

Technical Credits

Tony Brown   Producer
Robert Charles   Engineer
Greg Droman   Engineer
Nashville String Machine   Contributor
Mark Wright   Producer
Byron Hill   Contributor

Customer Reviews

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Smoke Rings in the Dark 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I hadn't really paid attention to Gary's songs before hearing the singles from "Alright Guy", but when I was looking for that CD the store was sold out so I picked up "Smoke Rings in the Dark" and have absolutely fallen in love with the songs. I particularly like "Lovin' You Against My Will" and the title track, and "Sorry" and "Runaway" are so fun to sing to. Honestly, all the songs are just great.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think that this cd was one of the best I've heard in a long time.I'm not realy a big country music fan but there's just something about his music that I fell in love with.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After struggling to find his own identity on his first two albums, Gary Allan finally hits the jackpot on his third offering, ''Smoke Rings in the Dark''. Though he's still mainly a cover-singer, this release shows a mature intensity that is entirely Allan's own. From the gorgeous Chris Isaak influenced title track to the beautifully rendered ''Loving You Against My Will'', ''Dark'' promises to become a country classic- it is a genre triumph.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This has to be the best CD I own. Every song is outstanding and Gary's voice is amazing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album was one of the best country albums made.
Guest More than 1 year ago
We were pleasantly surprised to find that we enjoy every single song on this c.d. How refreshing to not have to put up with songs just to hear the one you like.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
'Smoke Rings in the Dark' was the first country song I ever truly liked. Gary Allan has grit to his voice, and sings with haunting pain. You really get the impression that he's feeling every lyric that comes out of his mouth. Really an awesome CD. He's edgy and a little dark, a wonderful combination.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Every song on this CD is a heart-tugger. I enjoyed all the songs, Gary Allan is the most underrated country singer. His voice sends shivers up and down my spine. I never get tired of listeing him to sing. A must have CD for Gary Allan die-hard fans. Go and get his other previous CD's. You will not be disappointed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Don't get all the references to Chris Isaak (Allan's voice is much grittier) but this is one awesome CD. There's not a bad song on it. One of the best country albums I've ever bought and probably will ever buy. Not just a couple of hits off the radio, ALL good songs. I regret not getting any more of Gary Allan's work, but maybe in the future
Anonymous More than 1 year ago