Although the title of Gary Allan’s slow-burning new single, “Hangover Tonight,” suggests something hardcore country, the tune itself is more of a throwback to classic R&B. The song was penned by Allan with Chris Stapleton, Jesse Frasure and Cary Barlowe, with Stapleton also providing soulful vocals to the track.
The first single from an upcoming album due later this year, the groove-filled “Hangover Tonight” marks the latest musical reincarnation of the California-born hitmaker. “I feel like this is the fourth or fifth time I’ve reinvented myself, or tried to push myself to do different things,” says Allan. “I feel like I have pushed myself into a very comfortable place because it is kind of Fifties and Sixties Motown. It reminds me of when I did ‘Runaway’ [the Del Shannon cover from 1999’s Smoke Rings in the Dark] and things like that.”
The new song also harkens back to the rockabilly bands Allan played with during his youth, and was “a very easy thing for me to do.” The singer-songwriter, known for his smoky, smoldering vocals and skillful guitar slinging, says he applied that same approach to much of his next album.
“I write my heart out. Then I see what I’ve got,” Allan told Country Radio Seminar attendees in February. At that same show, he debuted other material from the new LP and noted that his collaborations with Stapleton and Frasure marked the first time he had ever written without guitars, which have long been an important part of his live show.
“I travel with 15 guitars,” Allan told told Rolling Stone Country while on tour last year. “You want all the songs to sound different. When I’m watching someone else’s show, it makes a big difference to me which guitars they pull out. I’m excited to see what they play.”
“Hangover Tonight,” already a popular staple of Allan’s concerts, will appear on the follow-up to Set You Free, which topped both the country and multi-genre Billboard 200 charts when it was released in early 2013.