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[American_Idol_By_Request] American hero, idol back in Utah / Gracin sings at S. Ogden Days
Fri Jun 26 09:00:38 2009
American hero, idol back in Utah / Gracin sings at S. Ogden Days
By Linda East Brady
AUDIO: "We Weren't Crazy" by Josh Gracin
Josh Gracin performs Saturday during South Ogden Days at Friendship Park in
Even at the dawn of Josh Gracin's national singing career, he was already an
In 2003, at the same time he was serving as one of the few and the proud in the
United States Marine Corps, he was singing his way into the final four on
He was in Utah just a few weeks ago, playing with Darryl Worley in Eagle
Mountain. After touring the Southeast, he returns to the Beehive State to
headline a free concert at South Ogden Days on Saturday.
"Oh my gosh -- every time we come to Utah, it is a great turnout," said Gracin,
calling from the tour bus in Fayetteville, Ga. "I know people will come out and
support us, and they have a great time -- and so we do, too."
With the conclusion of his "American Idol" run, he finished his service in the
Corps and then went to the studio to make a self-titled debut that went gold
and landed him a No. 1 hit, "Nothin' to Lose." Two other singles from the
record -- "I Want to Live" and "Stay With Me (Brass Bed)" -- also entered the
top five on Billboard country charts.
He and his wife have a bustling family, with four kids ages 7, 3, 2 and 7
months. Not that family life has slowed Gracin's busy career.
He followed up his first release with a successful second effort, and is in the
studio right now, in between shows, recording his third. Gracin has two new
songs posted on his MySpace page -- "Enough" and, his most recent, "I Still
" 'I Still Love You' has surpassed 'Enough' in hits, which is good," he said.
"I wrote that one with a bandmate of mine, which is really exciting. I'm
writing a lot for the new record, which is definitely a different approach for
His own songs
Gracin says he is planning to have seven or eight songs that he's written on
the new album, out of 13.
"You know, the stuff you write is a part of you," he said. "So you sing them a
little more emotionally than you would someone else's songs, in most cases."
Gracin said he has always dabbled in songwriting, but became more serious about
the craft in the last six months.
"I have hunkered down and found my own little style," he said. "Some writers
have a structure, a routine, but for me, it is about playing the guitar, and
then a chord progression or melody will pop in my head. I don't sit and force
myself to write. I always have a guitar nearby, always playing, and something
will just come up when I do. I write out of life experiences, whether my own
experiences ... or (things I) watched go on around me."
He laughed. "So I am always writing, but the songs are not always good."
Country meets Motown
Even Gracin does not label what he is doing now as strictly Nashville country.
"But I don't see how you'd label it as anything else, either," he added.
A Michigan boy, he grew up listening to oldies, R&B, rock and, without a doubt,
the Motown sound.
"There are a couple songs on this album really geared to that soulful sound. I
have two rock producers working on this album. I look forward to what they want
to do with it.
"I have to be frank -- I think Nashville has gotten repetitive in the way their
albums sound. They all try to sound like pop with a country flavor, with a lot
of compression on the vocals and tricks like that. I don't want that
compression -- I want the vocals to sound like they are right there in the room
singing to you. I love a lot of instruments and layers, but as far as heavy
production, it is not needed."
To show how he is doing things a differently, Gracin uses the example of his
new song "Love You Right," which he has performed for live audiences.
"It is a song with a lot of movement, and people seemed to get excited about
it," he said, comparing it to his 2005 hit "Stay With Me (Brass Bed)."
" 'Love You Right' has a 6/8 waltz beat, like 'Brass Bed' did, and it is ... a
cool song about a guy who said, 'I want the same thing as you -- so how do we
get there?' "
Gracin said not to fear, there will also be a couple of ballads on the album
"like people are used to hearing right now. But there are also different
things, like an old-school Motown thing called 'I Want to Make You Cry.' "
He laughed. "It's risky. I know that this might be too much of a change of
direction, but I really hope it is the right direction to go in at just the
l WHO: Josh Gracin, with Outrageous
l WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
l WHERE: Friendship Park, 655 E. 5500 South, South Ogden
l TICKETS: Free; listen to KSOP 104.3 FM to find out how to pick up tickets.
For more information, visit www.southogdencity.com.
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