American_Idol_By_Request

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[American_Idol_By_Request] American hero, idol back in Utah / Gracin sings at S. Ogden Days Susie Whatley Fri Jun 26 09:00:38 2009

http://www.standard.net/live/news/177032/

American hero, idol back in Utah / Gracin sings at S. Ogden Days
By Linda East Brady

Standard-Examiner staff 

AUDIO: "We Weren't Crazy" by Josh Gracin

           
     



Josh Gracin performs Saturday during South Ogden Days at Friendship Park in 
South Park.



Even at the dawn of Josh Gracin's national singing career, he was already an 
American hero.

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 
"American Idol."

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 
Love You."

" '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 
me."

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 
right time."


PREVIEW

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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