Gary Allan recently released Ruthless, his first album in eight years and spearheaded by the single “Temptation.” But that’s far from the only creative project Allan has been working on lately.
Allan told journalist Shannon McCombs for CDX Nashville that he’s just finished renovating his current residence, which was once owned by the late “Hello Darlin'” hitmaker Conway Twitty.
“It’s super cool that he owned it,” Allan said. “It’s vibey. There’s several things that I left because they were like that when he had it. I left my patio like that. There’s a theater that has pictures of his albums…my gym was his beauty salon–that’s where he got his first perm.”
Allan says Twitty’s ex-wife visited him and gave him a walk-through of the home, and told him many stories about the residence. “There’s a hidden door in my closet. It’s a mirror that you push on and it opens up, and there’s a sink in there and stuff like that. I heard he was a real primper, so he would go in there where no one could see him. Because in those days, there was like a couch in his bathroom, and that was kind of a thing. People would hang out in the salon…even George Jones had a barber that would come to his house.”
He also notes that Twitty would hold his fanclub parties at that home. “His ex-wife gave me a [photo] book and the whole thing was shot at that house. [Conway] had a bronco and I have a bronco, so I’ve thought about putting on a trucker hat and redoing all the photos that he did in that book.”
Allan also spoke of another side gig he’s been enjoying–crafting jewelry.
“This started a long time ago when I was renegotiating with a label and I had a lot of time off and I wanted to appear to have gone dark, so to speak, so anybody that wrote with me, I would tell them, ’You couldn’t tell anybody that you were at my house.'” I went to a jewelry school and learned how to set diamonds and cast gold and silver. I’ve always been fascinated with that stuff and I love to make things.” He added that his daughter now works full-time with him, and he estimates they make 100-200 pieces per month to sell on his website.
He also spoke about why 2021 was the right time to release his first collection of new music in nearly a decade.
“It’s a combination of three separate projects…I turned in 28 songs and each time I did, music had changed so much, it was kind of in the height of that bro-country thing,” he said. “Long story short I just dragged my feet through it until some of that went away. When this ’90s thing started to come back, I thought, ’That’s my bag.'”
For the new project Ruthless, he reunited with studio musicians who had played on his previous albums. “It was like a reunion, I love this album because of that. Because it was done over such a long period of time, and I had so many good songs already, just going through and picking the cream off of everything made for a really strong album.”