Single Review: Gary Allan, "Pieces"

Gary PiecesStrong vocal, strong production, weak little song.

Not that I care much. Gary Allan’s on the comeback train, baby, and if it gets him some Little Big Town-type belated recognition, I’ll happily accept a few mediocre singles.

Because after years of laboring in semi-stardom, he may be the finest singer left standing in country music today. Even on this introspectish throwaway, which sounds

like it was bumped from the space between “Trying to Matter” and “Half of My Mistakes” on Living Hard, his combination of technical and interpretive skill – the golden tone, the rasp that scratches just the right places, the way he bounces off some words and grips into others – feels so natural that you wonder why every other singer can’t achieve it.

Set that to some nice, punchy Jay Joyce drums, and even a little “meh” factor can’t derail the listening experience. It’s not the best he’s ever had…but it’s not so bad.

Written by Gary Allan, Odie Blackmon & Sarah Buxton

Grade: B-



  1. Wonderful review, with a closing line that is classic Dan.

    I unfortunately have to agree on the weakness of the material. I was surprised to hear that this was the next single, as it sounded an awful lot like album filler to my ear.

  2. Good review. You can’t give this artist a bad one except for the song itself..but’s better then some hits of today even if it’s not a true Gary Allan song.

  3. …probably thanks to jason aldean or brantley gilbert, we are supposed to pick up “pieces” instead of a terrific and complete contemporary country song like “it ain’t the whiskey” from that same album.

    of course, the reason could also be today’s political (over)correctness, which sometimes leads to quite remarkable results: you can’t even blame the whiskey, almost exclusively, anymore in a country song – it just doesn’t seem to be fair to all the other fine substances. then again, wasn’t that exactly what the good lord had in mind, when he invented it? what would a decent judgement day be like without any stupid excuses?

    and the good news of the day is: if you drink bud you can forget about the brown bag. did it ever cross your mind at the time that those frogs were actually swimming in bud?

  4. Seen Gary twice in concert recently. Love him. He said he thought Tough Goodbye would be his first single and that he really was proud of that one. I am surprised it was not his second. I think that is a better song than Pieces, and it was obvious from the way he was talking to the crowd, that Gary does too, but I love anything he sings.

  5. That’s an interesting insight, Jennifer. “Tough Goodbye” is honestly my favorite on the album and struck me as the only clear choice for another single (although I’d like to see “It Ain’t the Whiskey” get a shot at some point, too), so I wonder what gave “Pieces” the edge. I guess it just has the most radio-ready production?

  6. I liked “Sand in my Soul.” A tad dark for radio, but it was a refreshing take on the “beach song” everyone seems to be doing nowadays. I was watching a video on youtube, and in it Gary says he’d love “Whiskey” to be a single.

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