Bio

Dictionary.com defines freedom as “the power to determine action without restraint.” Thus, Gary Allan’s Set You Free is a perfectly named, well-conceived album that embodies his own evolution toward personal, creative freedom. The album, sequenced with a storyline in which a man breaks the restraints of a failed relationship and conquers the loneliness of its aftermath, is the result of Allan’s own journey as a man and as an artist.

He took a number of new steps during the recording process – by mixing up the production team, playing lead guitar on a number of tracks, writing more of his own material and using a handful of new co-writers. As a result, he came up with the most optimistic album of his career, one that acknowledges the hurdles of the past and the ways in which they’ve helped to shape his current sense of renewal.“It’s all about healing,” Allan says. “It’s all about the evolution of getting better. He has, to be sure, drawn heavily from that viewpoint, mixing honky-tonk bravado and grainy isolation across eight previous studio albums, all the while mining the emotional turf that fuels a life well-lived: the joys of parenting, the heartache of personal loss, the testosterone of disagreement and the unpredictability of love. He registered five #1 singles – “Man To Man,” “Tough Little Boys,” “Nothing On But The Radio,” “Watching Airplanes” and “Every Storm Runs Out of Rain”  – in addition to such trademark hits such as the lonely “Best I Ever Had” and the swaggering “Right Where I Need To Be.” Allan’s amassed seven gold albums in the process – three of them certified platinum, as well – and maintained the admiration of critics for his unwavering uniqueness.

Set You Free is at once familiar and enlightening. Fans who have followed Allan throughout his 17-year recording career will recognize the dark crevasses in the project – the gnarled anger of “Bones,” the honest self-examination of “It Ain’t The Whiskey,” the sinister self-abuse of “Sand In My Soul.” But as the album’s cinematic plot unfolds, it opens into a refreshing glimpse of self-acceptance. Allan falls into a carefree, quasi-reggae groove on the upbeat “No Worries.” He couches past suffering as a tool for a promising future in the driving, penultimate “Pieces.” And he closes the album with a dramatic, lush proclamation, “Good As New.” That latter title sums up the emotional place in which Allan finds himself, and he attributes much of it to music. “There’s no better thing than to have all your best friends come over and to talk about the emotions that you’re having,” Allan says. “Songwriting is the best therapy in the world.” Allan is also good as new in a literal, physical way. Set You Free is the first album he recorded since the removal of a polyp on his vocal cords that had doggedly restricted his range, his strength and his expression. The issue was discovered almost by accident during a routine checkup with a Nashville voice doctor. But it explained why his concerts had ever so gradually become a test of his endurance.

“Every time I would go out before the surgery, I would only last full force for about three songs,” he says. “I could feel the fatigue, and I could feel my cords swell up, and I had other people hitting notes for me. They removed the polyp, and it was like I was 18 again. It was amazing how well it worked.”

The difference is noticeable. There’s always been a gritty, gravelly edge to his performances, but confident that his voice will respond, Allan pushes himself on Set You Free, singing with more command, authority and pliability than he has in years.

Able to challenge himself vocally, he found other ways to draw from his creative muse. He devoted more time to writing songs and explored a new avenue by co-writing for the first time with a series of women. Of the five songs he penned, four are co-written with three different women – Sarah Buxton, Hillary Lindsey and Rachel Proctor – a step that unlocked an undefinable energy. He particularly enjoyed many of the songs he wrote with Lindsey, who’s written a bevy of successful country titles in the last decade, including Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus, Take The Wheel,” and Lady Antebellum’s “American Honey.”  “Every time I’ve written with her and my buddy Matt Warren, we end up with like nine starts of a song, because it seemed like we were always branching off into some other subject,” Allan notes. “Then we’d come back and we’d write one or two of those and have four or five more ideas. Eventually, we would come back and finish writing one or two more of those. It’s an amazing thing that we have.  We’ve written nine or ten songs, but we’ve only been written together three times. It’s quality. Once you get those kind of rhythm going, you try to ride it out the best you can.”

Their efforts included “Every Storm (Runs Out Of Rain),” the first single from the album – which features Lindsey as the harmony vocalist. It marks the first time a woman has provided the backing vocals on one of Allan’s singles, providing a softer contrast to his roughed-edged, ultra-masculine tone.

“Every Storm,” in fact, is a distillation of the entire album, as well as the renewal that accompanied it. The singer bravely faces all of his demons – “Don’t be afraid of the thorns / ‘Cause we all have thorns” – as he moves forward, ending the chorus by hitting an extended high note on a line that just happens to be the album’s title, “Set you free.”

“That line,” Allan muses, “says so much.”

The Southern California-born Allan has been exploring the thorns since the beginning of his musical life, when he played the clubs during his high school years. After graduation, he developed a following in the area, regularly attracting an audience that featured a rare mix of rednecks in western boots and neo-Goths with piercings and spiked hair. Allan was particularly inspired in a concert by the Highwaymen – Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson – to pursue music that mined the dangerous side of life. “They were so powerful,” Allan reflects. “It was like punk rock to me. It was so hardcore. I really, really wanted to be a part of that lifestyle.”In Set You Free, Allan found even greater artistic clarity, building a cohesive narrative from a collection of songs directed by three different producers. Longtime friend Mark Wright (Gretchen Wilson, Lee Ann Womack) tracked three songs, while the versatile and mysterious Jay Joyce (Eric Church, Cage The Elephant, The Wallflowers) turned in five and Allan co-produced the final four with engineer Greg Droman (Brooks & Dunn, True Blood theme).

“Getting in and doing it myself with some of my band guys was a big deal,” Allan observes. “It was a big breath of fresh air.” Which is what Set You Free represents. The album’s lyrical journey from darkness to light reflects much of what went on behind it – the progression of Allan’s own life as an adult, the restoration of his voice, the renewed energy from working with new songwriting partners and the challenge of producing his own tracks and playing his own lead guitar. All of those changes have given him a new sense of freedom. “I seem to gravitate musically toward wherever I’m at in my life at that time,” Allan says. “And I’m in a real good place.”

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CHRISTMAS LINERS 2018

Here are some holiday liners from UMG Nashville artists, including Adam Hambrick, Alan Jackson, Billy Currington, Brandon Lay, Brothers Osborne, Carrie Underwood, Clare Dunn, Darius Rucker, Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, Gary Allan, George Strait, Jon Langston, Jon Pardi, Jordan Davis, Josh Turner, Keith Urban, Kip Moore, Lauren Alaina, Little Big Town, Luke Bryan, Sam Hunt, Travis Denning and more!

Audio / LINER Adam Hambrick (Christmas)

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“Hey everybody! I’m Adam Hambrick, wishing you a very Merry Christmas.”

 

Audio / LINER Adam Hambrick (Happy Holidays)

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“Hey everybody! I’m Adam Hambrick. Happy Holidays.”

 

Audio / LINER AJ (Christmas)

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“Hi! This is Alan Jackson, and I’m wishing y’all a very Merry Christmas.”

Audio / LINER Billy Currington (Happy Holiday Season)

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“Hi! Billy Currington here, wishing you and your family a safe and Happy Holiday Season.”

Audio / LINER Brothers Osborne (Christmas)

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“Hey! This is T.J., and I’m John, and we are Brothers Osborne, wishing you a very Merry Christmas.”

Audio / LINER Carrie Underwood (Christmas)

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“Hi! I’m Carrie Underwood, wishing you a Merry Christmas.”

Audio / LINER Clare Dunn (Christmas)

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“Hey! What’s up? This is Clare Dunn, hoping you have a Merry Christmas.”

Audio / LINER Darius Rucker (Christmas)

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“Hey y’all! What’s up? This is Darius Rucker, wishing you a Merry Christmas.”

Audio / LINER Dierks Bentley (Christmas)

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“Hey! This is Dierks Bentley, wishing you a very Merry Christmas.”

 

Audio / LINER Dierks Bentley (Happy Holidays)

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“Hey everybody! It’s Dierks Bentley, wishing you a very Happy Holiday season.”

Audio / LINER Eric Church (Christmas)

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“Hey everybody! It’s Eric Church, wishing you a very Merry Christmas.”

Audio / LINER Gary Allan (Christmas)

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“Hey! This is Gary Allan. Merry Christmas.”

Audio / LINER George Strait (Happy Holidays)

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“Hey everybody! This is George Strait, wishing you and your family a Happy Holiday season.”



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Audio / LINER Jon Pardi (Merry Christmas)

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“Hey! This is Jon Pardi, wishing you a Merry Christmas!”

Audio / LINER Jordan Davis (Christmas)

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“Hey! I’m Jordan Davis, wishing you a very Merry Christmas.”

Audio / LINER Josh Turner (Happy Holidays)

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“Hey! I’m Josh Turner, wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday season.”

Audio / LINER Kacey Musgraves (Christmas)

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“Hey! This is Kacey Musgraves, wishing you a very Merry Christmas.”

Audio / LINER Keith Urban (Christmas)

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“Hi folks, this is Keith Urban, wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas.”

Audio / LINER Keith Urban (Holiday season)

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“Hi everyone, this is Keith Urban, wishing you and all your family the very best this holiday season.”

Audio / LINER Kip Moore (Christmas)

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“Hey guys, this is Kip Moore, wishing you a Merry Christmas.”

Audio / LINER Kip Moore (Happy Holidays)

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“Hey y’all, it’s Kip Moore. Happy Holidays!”

Audio / LINER Lauren Alaina (Christmas)

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“Hey! This is Lauren Alaina, wishing you a Merry Christmas.”

Audio / LINER LBT (Christmas)

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“Hey! We’re Little Big Town, wishing you a very Merry Christmas.”

Audio / LINER LBT (Happy Holidays)

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“Hey! We’re Little Big Town. Happy Holidays!”

Audio / LINER Luke Bryan (Christmas)

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“Hey! It’s Luke Bryan, wishing you a Merry Christmas.”

Audio / LINER Luke Bryan (Happy Holidays)

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“Hey! It’s Luke Bryan. Happy Holidays!”

Audio / LINER Maddie & Tae (Christmas)

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“Hi! We’re Maddie & Tae, wishing you a Merry Christmas.”

Audio / LINER Maddie & Tae (Happy Holidays)

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“Hi! We’re Maddie & Tae. Happy Holidays.”

Audio / LINER Mickey Guyton (Christmas)

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“Hey! It’s Mickey Guyton, wishing you a Merry Christmas.”

Audio / LINER Sam Hunt (Christmas)

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“Hey everybody! This is Sam Hunt, wishing you a very Merry Christmas.”

Audio / LINER Sam Hunt (Happy Holidays)

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“Hey everybody! I’m Sam Hunt. Happy Holidays!”

Audio / LINER Shania Twain (Christmas)

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“Hi! This is Shania Twain, wishing you a very Merry Christmas.”

Audio / LINER Travis Denning (Happy Holidays)

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“Hey! I’m Travis Denning. Happy Holidays.”

THANKSGIVING 2018: LINERS

Audio / LINER Adam Hambrick (Thanksgiving)

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“Hey I’m Adam Hambrick, wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving.”

 

Audio / LINER AJ (Thanksgiving)

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“Hi! This is Alan Jackson. I hope y’all have a very happy Thanksgiving out there.”

Audio / LINER Billy Currington (Thanksgiving)

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“Hey Guys, I’m Billy Currington. Have a great Thanksgiving.”

Audio / LINER Brandon Lay (Thanksgiving)

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“Hey y’all! This is Brandon Lay. Happy Thanksgiving.”

Audio / LINER Brothers Osborne (Thanksgiving)

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“Hey! This is TJ, and this is John, and we’re wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving!”

Audio / LINER Carrie Underwood (Thanksgiving)

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“Hi! I’m Carrie Underwood, wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving.”

Audio / LINER Clare Dunn (Thanksgiving)

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“Hey! This is Clare Dunn, wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving!”

Audio / LINER Darius Rucker (Thanksgiving)

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“Hey y’all! What’s up? This is Darius Rucker, wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving!”

Audio / LINER Dierks Bentley (Thanksgiving)

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“Hey! It’s Dierks Bentley! Happy Thanksgiving!”

Audio / LINER Eric Church (Thanksgiving)

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“Hey folks! It’s Eric Church, wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving.”

Audio / LINER Gary Allan (Thanksgiving)

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“Hey guys! Gary Allan here. I just want to wish everybody a Happy Thanksgiving, and have a Happy Holidays and make sure you’re safe out there. Drive safe. Party your butts off, but do it safe.”

Audio / LINER George Strait (Thanksgiving)

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“Hi! This is George Strait, wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving.”

Audio / LINER Jon Langston (Thanksgiving)

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Hey y’all, I’m Jon Langston, wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving.

Audio / LINER Jon Pardi (Thanksgiving)

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“Hey! It’s Jon Pardi, wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving.”

Audio / LINER Jordan Davis (Thanksgiving)

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“Hey I’m Jordan Davis. Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.”

Audio / LINER Josh Turner (Thanksgiving)

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“Hey y’all I’m Josh Turner, wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving.”

Audio / LINER Kacey Musgraves (Thanksgiving)

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“Hey! It’s Kacey Musgraves, wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving!”

Audio / LINER Keith Urban (Thanksgiving)

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“Happy Thanksgiving everybody. It’s Keith Urban here. I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you all of you listening for your incredible love and support that I’ve received over the last year, and to wish you and all of your family all the very best for this holiday.”

Audio / LINER Kip Moore (Thanksgiving)

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“Hey what’s up guys, this is Kip Moore wishing you a very happy Thanksgiving.”

Audio / LINER Lauren Alaina (Thanksgiving)

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“Hey! This is Lauren Alaina, wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving!”

Audio / LINER LBT (Thanksgiving)

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“Hey, we’re Little Big Town. Happy Thanksgiving!”

Audio / LINER Luke Bryan (Thanksgiving)

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“Hey! It’s Luke Bryan, wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving!”

Audio / LINER Maddie & Tae (Thanksgiving)

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“Hey everybody! I’m Maddie, and I’m Tae, and we’re Maddie & Tae, wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving.”

Audio / LINER Mickey Guyton (Happy Thanksgiving)

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“Hey! It’s Mickey Guyton here, and I want to wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving.”

Audio / LINER Sam Hunt (Thanksgiving)

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“Hey everybody! This is Sam Hunt, wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving.”

Audio / LINER Travis Denning (Thanksgiving)

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Hey y’all! It’s Travis Denning, wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving.”

FOURTH OF JULY 2018 LINERS

 

Audio / LINER AJ (4th of July)

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“Hey! This is Alan Jackson, wishing you a happy and safe Fourth of July.”

Audio / LINER Billy Currington (4th of July)

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“Hey guys! I’m Billy Currington, wishing you a Happy Fourth of July.”

 

Audio / LINER Brandon Lay (Fourth of July)

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“What’s up, everybody? This is Brandon Lay, wishing you a Happy Fourth of July.”

 

Audio / LINER Bros Osborne (Fourth of July)

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“Hey y’all! I’m John, and I’m TJ, and we are Brothers Osborne, wishing you a very Happy Fourth of July.”

Audio / LINER Clare Dunn (Fourth of July)

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“Hey! This is Clare Dunn, wishing you a very Happy Fourth of July.”

 

Audio / LINER Darius (4th of July)

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“Hey y’all, what’s up? This is Darius Rucker, wishing you a very, very happy Fourth of July!”

Audio / LINER Darius (Happy Birthday, America)

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“Happy Birthday, America!”

Audio / LINER Dierks Bentley (4th of July)

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Hey everybody! This is Dierks Bentley, wishing you a Happy and safe Fourth of July.

Audio / LINER Eric Church (4th of July)

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“Hey this is Eric Church, wishing you a very happy Fourth of July.”

Audio / LINER Eric Paslay (4th of July)

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“Hey! This is Eric Paslay, wishing you a very happy Fourth of July.”

Audio / LINER Gary Allan (4th of July)

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“Hey! This is Gary Allan. Happy Fourth of July.”

Audio / LINER Jon Pardi (4th of July)

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“Hi, it’s Jon Pardi, wishing you a Happy Fourth of July.”

Audio / LINER Jordan Davis (Fourth of July)

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“Hey! I’m Jordan Davis, wishing you a Happy Fourth of July.”

Audio / LINER Lauren Alaina (4th of July)

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“Hey! It’s Lauren Alaina. Have a safe and happy Fourth of July.”

Audio / LINER LBT (4th of July)

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“Hey! We’re Little Big Town. Happy Fourth of July!”

Audio / LINER Luke Bryan (4th of July)

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“Hey! This is Luke Bryan, wishing you a very happy Fourth of July.”

Audio / LINER Maddie & Tae (Fourth of July)

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“Hey everybody! I’m Maddie, and I’m Tae and we’re Maddie & Tae, wishing you a  safe and happy Fourth of July.”

 

Audio / LINER Mickey Guyton (Fourth of July)

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“Hey! This is Mickey Guyton, wishing you a Happy Fourth of July.”

Audio / LINER Sam Hunt (Fourth of July)

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“Hey everybody! This is Sam Hunt, wishing you a safe and Happy Fourth of July.”

Audio / LINER Travis Denning (Fourth of July)

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“Hey y’all! It’s Travis Denning, wishing you a safe and Happy Fourth of July.”

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