Gary Allan has flirted with a major breakthrough on three previous releases, and with any luck, Alright Guy's edgier, superbly chosen fare will take him over the top. It's his best album yet, from the

Gary Allan has flirted with a major breakthrough on three previous releases, and with any luck, Alright Guy's edgier, superbly chosen fare will take him over the top. It's his best album yet, from the backbone of "Man to Man" and the fiddle-laced bad-boy cut "The Devil's Candy" to the reverb-drenched ballad "What I'd Say." Allan kicks it into high gear with the pounding "Man of Me" and delivers smooth-as-silk Western lounge on Luke Reed's "Adobe Walls." Savvy production and Allan's retro delivery

kill on the twang-heavy Jim Lauderdale/ Leslie Satcher cut "What's on My Mind," and heavy doses of outlaw humor fuel the hangdog "I'm Doin' My Best," an amiable take on Bruce Robison's witty "What Would Willie Do," and the Todd Snider-penned slacker anthem title cut. Allan's stellar song choice and skills as an interpreter, as well as enough attitude to include dope-smoking references and use of the word "scumbag," have combined for one of the best—if not the best—country albums of the year.—RW

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