Chart topping Californian born singing actor Gary Allan is heading to Geelong on his third Australian tour with just three requests - a surfboard, decent waves and airplay.

Allan's Sydney promoter Rob Potts of Allied Artists granted his first two wishes by booking him into Geelong instead of Prahran where he played in 2000.

There will be no shortage of surf shops and surfers willing to help Allan out with the tools of conquering our waves.

Gary chanced his body with former World Masters Surfing Champion Cheyne Horan at Duranbah Beach, Tweed Heads, on his previous tour.

This time Allan, 37, wants to go surfing at Bells Beach while here for a Ford Theatre concert at Geelong Performing Arts Centre on Saturday October 22.

But there's unlikely to many breakers for the singer to surf on the Sabbath when he heads east into coal country in Gippsland at Churchill.

"Last time I was in Victoria there wasn't a swell, I'm hoping this time there will be," Allan revealed on the eve of a tour to promote sixth album Tough All Over, released in Australia this week - ahead of its U.S. launch.

"I grew up around Huntington Beach in southern California and surfing was my main love - with music."

The thrice-wed father of three daughters moved to Nashville in 2003 and keeps fit on a wake board in a nearby lake.


Sadly Potts won't be able to sate the desire of Allan and peers for healthy airplay in Victoria.

Geelong's country music station HIT Country, nee Country FM, ceased broadcasting at midnight on Thursday September 29.

The volunteer staffed broadcaster became the only 24-hour a day Victorian country music station after it failed to win a community licence in the ABA bunfight.

Licences went to print handicapped and Christian aspirants so Country FM chanced its voices on narrowcast frequencies.

It broadcast from different Geelong locales and enjoyed wider exposure after it leased the 89.3 FM frequency from a Geelong family benefactor.

The station increased its reach into Melbourne's wild western and bayside suburbs and higher altitude areas of the east such as Mt Waverley and East Burwood.

Hit Country streamlining its music format that once suffered from hokey Australiana and sub standard recordings.

Breakfast announcer Dave Gibney and former 3UZ and 3GL DJ Gene Bradley Fisk headed an enthusiastic team that was buoyed by recruitment of younger announcers including fresh voiced females.

But sadly that wasn't enough to enable the station to renew its lease on the frequency so listeners suffered static and dead air from Friday September 30.

This means Allan will rely on sporadic airplay from a diverse mix of community DJS with shifts of two to four hours at the maximum.

The only good news is his new single The Best I Ever Had has won healthy rotation on joint tour sponsor - PAY-TV channel CMC - and Nu Country TV.


HIT Country's demise is also bad tidings for promoters of the spring and summer tour by Arizona country singer Billy Wyatt.

Wyatt hails from Apache Junction - a locale made famous by singing actor Billy Bob Thornton in the hilarious seasonal movie Bad Santa.

Hopefully, Nu Country TV will have a new producer-director to replace the recently retired Peter Hosking by then so Billy can host a few episodes of Series #5 over the summer.

Billy's high profile peers - Virginian born Texan troubadour Steve Earle and seventh wife Allison Moorer - are also touring here in November.

Allison Moorer >

The couple were wed last month at the Hermitage Hotel in Nashville and will have a working honeymoon that includes The Prince Of Wales in St Kilda.

Earle, 51, making his sixth Australian tour, shouldn't have any Immigration problems - his weapon of mass distraction is a finely honed catalogue of social comment tunes.

Alabama born Moorer, 33, is the former singing spouse of songwriter Doyle "Butch" Primm whom she wed in 1995.

She is making her debut Australian tour to promote her fifth album The Duel (Sugar Hill-Shock) that boasted her anti-war tune All Aboard.

"It's about blind patriotism and wrapping yourself up in the flag for your own gain," Moorer told Nu Country on its release when she was still betrothed to Primm.

"My husband and I aren't big fans of people who do that and reaction to band wagon jumping, people doing it because it's popular."

So is the song even more relevant with blind patriotism blamed for torture allegations in Iraq?

"We don't know the full story but my husband was in the military," Moorer revealed, "he said you are not forced to do something that is not right. It's really a horrible thing and I'm ashamed it has happened and the shifting of blame. I'm very angry and sad when I read about that - the war has been going on for a year and it seems to be getting worse and worse."

We will have more details on that tour when it's officially announced in the fullness of time.


Allan headlined Gympie Muster and Tamworth on previous tours and topped U.S. charts with songs diverse as Smoke Rings In The Dark, Nothing But The Radio On, Tough Little Boys, Man To Man, Songs About Rain and The Best I Ever Had.

The singer has several shows booked in Queensland where his profile is higher from regular airplay on community stations with a 24-hour country format and powerful signals.
They include 4AAA-FM, Brisbane, and automated Tweed Heads station on 101.3 FM that reaches north, south and west of the Tweed River and maybe out to sea to illegal and legal fisher folk.

A highlight will be his gig at Lee Kernaghan's Great Western Hotel in Rockhampton on October 28.

The venue boasts a live bull-riding ring for those who like to be high in the saddle while listening to their favourite artists.

On October 29 he plays Toowoomba - a city with the luxury of four country music stations.
And on October 30 he returns to the scene of the rhyme and wave at Tweed Heads Twin Towns club.

CLICK HERE for full tour details in Tonk Girl's comprehensive Gig Guide.


Allan graduated from performing to acting with ease when he played the lead role of late rock singer Eddie Cochran in TV mini-series Shake, Rattle & Roll.

Cochran died at 21 in a car crash on April 17, 1960, after a short but fiery career that produced smash hits Summertime Blues, Come On Everybody and Something Else.

Ironically the singer, whose passenger and fellow rock star Gene Vincent survived the crash, was touring to promote his new single Three Steps To Heaven.

Allan's research for the role was helped by a local connection.

"A school friend of mine's mom dated Eddie so I knew a lot about him from that and the photo albums he brought to school with him," Allan said.

That role landed Allan another part in another CBS TV series Pensacola - Wings Of Gold and The Bucket.

"I got to play myself so not much acting was needed," Allan revealed.

"We filmed at a bar in San Diego which was made to look like a bar in Pensacola."
Like many peers Allan found the transition from singing to acting a time consuming test of his patience and nerves.

"It was so tedious being there on the set from Sunday to Friday," Allan recalled.

"I was going nuts. I'd be a heroin addict if I had to spend nine months in trailers. The series was screened over two nights."


Although Allan first worked honky tonks at 13 it was more than a decade later when he was finally lured to Nashville.

"The owner didn't want me to play because I was so young," Gary recalled of his first gig.

"He put me up on stage and plugged my guitar in. I sat and played for him for about three hours. I started playing with the band there that night."

It was at the age of 15, at junior high school, that Allan wrote his first tune Teenage Crush - one of many songs spawned by his oft broken heart.

"There was a girl I liked in school," Allan recalled, "she went away to camp for seven days.

When she came back she liked someone else. I was writing songs, taking just four or five hours, from raw emotion. I barely went to school when I was in school. I played the bars at night. I was half asleep when I got to school. I thought sleep was what you did when you got to school."

Ruptured romances have long fuelled songs for Allan's whose six million plus album sales have been a nice little earner.

When his marriage to Versace model Danette Day - his second wife - exploded after seven months he harvested hay from the heartbreak for his Smoke Rings In The Dark album that followed Used Heart For Sale.

"The price was heavy but I think we got a good record out of it," Allan confessed.

"Quite often an album is a reflection of what you are going through. My marriage broke up.

In the middle of record I had a lot of personal stuff on the side."

Allan has overcome the mainstream commercial radio boycott of country music in Australia by promoting his songs with video clips on Pay TV channel CMC and Nu Country TV.

Allan and his band The Rhythm Wranglers, supported by Steve Forde & The Flange, perform the Ford Theatre, Geelong, from 8 p m - Saturday October 22.

Tickets - $59. Bookings - 03 52251200.

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