The Take That frontman unveiled comeback single 'Let Me Go' - taken from his first solo album in 14 years, 'Since I Saw You Last' - last week and admits he was eager to avoid the dance-pop trends seen in today's charts by taking cues from the late 'Folsom Prison Blues' singer for a more folk sound.
He told The Sun newspaper: ''I've always like folky, acoustic music but I've never fully explored it. I turned back time and was listening to Johnny Cash and early Elton John before I wrote 'Let Me Go'. I'm 42, I don't want to do urban or dance music.''
Gary also brushed off comparisons between his single and Grammy Award-winning group Mumford & Sons, insisting their music is also inspired by the country legend.
He added: ''I love Mumford & Sons - it's good, English music, but let's be honest, they got it off Johnny Cash too.''
'Since I Saw You Last' marks Gary's first solo material - barring a charity compilation to mark Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee in 2012 - since 1999's 'Twelve Months, Eleven Days'.
The album will also feature a duet with Sir Elton John titled 'Face to Face'.