Gary Allan has returned to performing live shows for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic closed down concerts, but he didn't have any easy road back. In a new interview, the singer reveals that he lost his voice repeatedly while rehearsing for his new run of dates.

After the long, unwanted break from shows, Allan tells Taste of Country Nights that he got ready for touring by practicing with his band for two months before his first show back. The musicians practiced four nights a week, and he says he lost his voice every night until the Saturday before it was time to play for an audience.

“It’s all fine now," Allan confirms.

Allan released a new album, Ruthless, on Friday (June 25). It's his first new project since 2013, and he says it took him back to his musical roots.

“The 90s thing was kinda coming about again, and I went and got the entire crew from my Smoke Rings in the Dark record, from the band to [producers] Mark Wright and Tony Brown," he explains. “That’s what these last six songs are from, but I also got to sprinkle the album with these things I had done for the last five or six years.”

Allan tells ToC Nights hosts Evan and Amber that he had accumulated 28 songs to choose from for Ruthless. To decide which songs make the cut, he says, “I put ‘em on in my house and I just wear ‘em out 'til some of ‘em get stronger and some of them get weaker."

His kids were the first to hear the songs, after his publishers.

"Yeah, my kids are not afraid to criticize me," Allan admits with a laugh. "But I prefer that to people just blowing sunshine.”

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