By People Staff
November 08, 2006 12:00 PM


It’s won critical raves and given him the Top 10 single “Life Ain’t Always Beautiful.” But for Allan, the success of his latest CD, Tough All Over, has been bittersweet. It was darkly inspired by the 2004 suicide of Allan’s wife, Angela Herzberg, 36, who had long suffered from depression and migraines. Allan, “in total devastation,” as he has said, canceled tour dates, suspended recording his sixth album and went into seclusion with the couple’s six children (three each from their previous marriages). After losing Angela, “there was no way that Gary was going to record anything light or happy,” says a close friend, songwriter Odie Blackmon. “He had to write and sing his way through what was happening to him right then.” Recording the CD that emerged just shy of a year after his wife’s death was, says Allan, 38, “a $300,000 therapy session.” Allan’s pain comes through in the lyrics, but so does his resilience. His next CD, he says, “will be very up, a rockin’ country record. There’s a song I really love—’We Touched the Sun,’ about a memory of two people—that says, ‘When I look back, I’m glad we found each other.'”