Gary Allan, “Learning How To Bend”

Gary Allan’s raw and powerful delivery on his second single, from his Living Hard album, is a great reason to turn on your radio! “Learning How To Bend” is a realistic, honest love song that is elevated by Allan’s gritty vocal performance that holds nothing back.

“I’m still learning how to pray/Trying hard not to stray/Try to see things your way/I’m still learning how to pray/I’m still learning how to trust/It’s so hard to open up/And I’d do anything for us/I’m still learning how to trust.” These are the words of a man who is desperately trying to negotiate his broken heart to embrace a new relationship. In addition to the things that he is trying to do in order to make this relationship work, he acknowledges the presence of a higher power that he feels is ultimately in control: “I’m just trying to understand/It’s all in someone else’s hands/There’s always been a bigger plan/But I don’t need to understand.”

The song’s intensity is supported by Allan’s strong vocal interpretation, not to mention his ability to sustain an impressive falsetto note, along with an interesting production that positively emphasizes the depth of the song’s emotion.

Written by Gary Allan, Matt Warren & James LeBlanc

Grade: A

Listen: Learning How to Bend

Buy:  Learning How to Bend


  1. This is definitely my favorite song off the album. After intially listening to the album. This was the song I kept coming back to. Also, I saw Gary shortly after the release of the album opening for Keith Urban, and he performed Watching Airplanes and this song. That falsetto is not a production room feature, but a true part of the sound that makes Gary such a great vocalist.

  2. My radio station had this song up against the new one by LONESTAR and their new lead singer last night and Lonestar won! I like Gary Allan but I also liked the new Lonestar….tuff call!!

  3. I gotta start listening to my radio new song battles more. I’m fallin behind here, lol. I really don’t think there is a bad song on Gary’s latest album. This is one of his best.

  4. Nobody sings like Gary. I love his voice and I love this song. I agree there is not a bad song on Living Hard–I love them all. I also really hope Gary does a video for the new single. Learning How To Bend is sure to be another big hit for Gary

  5. I’m not sure what is not country about this song, i think the fiddle intro is fairly country, fairly country lyric, and powerful country delivery.

  6. Corey-

    Lots of otherwise-poppy country records have fiddle intros; I could name you a handful of Rascal Flatts singles that do. The melodic phrasing in the verses of this song is reminiscent (to me, at least) of The Police’s “Every Breath You Take”, and the chorus sounds like it would be comfortable in an arena rock setting. The lyric works fine as a country lyric, but it would be just as well-suited to a pop or rock song. I can’t imagine any classic country artist releasing this song back in the day, even without the heavy electric guitar flourishes. And let’s be honest: while there is much about Gary Allan’s delivery that is firmly country, it also rocks in a way that few conventional country voices could if they tried.

    And seriously, none of this is to say that I don’t absolutely love the song and want it to be a hit at country radio, because like I said, I will follow a good Gary Allan record anywhere. But yeah, I don’t think it’s his countriest single ever.

  7. I feel sort of out of place … I’m not a huge Gary Allan fan, and this song isn’t doing much to win me over.

    And yet I keep on coming back to read the posts/reviews. :-)

  8. I agree with Stephen, something about this song doesn’t make me want to listen over and over . Maybe it’s got to do with the self-help-ish tone of the lyrics. Nice production & decent melody. though. Funny connection to the Police song, per Dan’s observation. I wouldn’t have noticed it on my own, but now I hear it!

  9. I became a Country DJ in 2001, I immediately found myself drawn to Gary’s music. He is the real deal, not the usual cookie cutter Nashville product. This release shows his ability to write as well as sing and play, a bold step that I think has good footing. I love the lush orchestration that Love Sponge adds to the first two singles. We are just up the road 60 miles from Nashville and actually cover it very well. I have let the music city know where we all stand with Gary for several years now and will definitely wave his flag as long as a have a 100,000 watt stick to tie it to. Great job Gary and keep ’em coming!

  10. I like listening to Gary Allen, I have noticed that since the passing of his wife that his song shadow what he has been going through… It is really great to see how is songs bring us closer to “him” and his feelings!! What an honest song writer!!!

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