Gary Allegretto blends cowboy songs and the blues on his latest CD release.
“I never wanted nobody trying to fence me in. If you try to coop me up in some holding pen, I’d say you can’t corral me, a cowboys gotta be free.” –lyrics from “A Cowboys Gotta Be Free,” from the album Blues on the Trail
Acclaimed musician Gary Allegretto has traveled down diverse trails in his life as a former forest ranger, firefighter, barroom bouncer, beach lifeguard, white-water rafting guide, ranchhand and traveling troubadour. There’s no denying his strong ties to the land, horses and cowboy culture. His fifth CD release, aptly titled Blues on the Trail, is a testament to his experiences and stellar musical and songsmithing skills with 12 songs, 10 of which are original. What sets his style apart is the moody cowboy blues he masterfully melds into melodies with his guitar and harmonica skills. It harkens to songs sung on the early cattle drives of the 1800s, as freed slaves became cattle drovers and adapted their folk tunes to their experiences along the trail.
A mix of tempos, the songs flow well on the CD, taking listeners on a musical, storytelling journey of contrasts of parallels, humor and humility, outlaws and cattle drives, horses and mules, and firefighters and cowboys. The title track sets the tone for the CD with a tune he wrote about the infamous outlaw Harry Alonzo Longabaugh (the Sundance Kid). He then takes listeners to a horse race in the toe-tapping song “Black Diamond,” written by his longtime friend and fellow musician Ian Espinoza. The award-winning musician contributed not only his songwriting to the CD, but also his virtuoso guitar and harmony vocal talents.
Listeners get an inside glimpse into Allegretto’s life in the song “A Horse Called the Bluesman,” an ode to a rescue horse he called “The Bluesman.”
“There are souls that don’t fit in, that are wired to be different, and conformity was not part of God’s plan. They wind up bruised and battered and cast away from the herd, and so it was when I first met ‘The Bluesman,’” he sings.
The CD wraps up with “Wherever I Roam,” a sentimental ballad reflecting on “a lifetime of wandering, chasing down dreams, winding through canyon forever it seems.”
Dedicated to his craft on a deep level, Allegretto not only shares his gifts on his CDs and at cowboy gatherings and music festivals, but also through educational workshops and philanthropy. He is the founder and director of Harmonikids, a non-profit organization that provides music therapy to special needs kids worldwide through harmonicas and lessons. His work and music transcends genres, generations and cultural barriers, yet is so professional, engaging and core to the cowboy that listeners can’t help but want to ride along a while longer and discover something new in a song.