Limewire Music Blog:American Idol’s Josh Gracin: All Things New in Nashville!
For Josh Gracin, 2010 is all about the “new.” There are a lot of things going on with the singer of such hits as “Nothin’ To Lose,” and he is excited about it all.
“We’ve got new management, a new team, a new record label, a new album, a new outlook, and even new hair,” he says with a smile. “I’m very excited about 2010. We’ve been in the studio doing something new in Nashville — something that isn’t done in the mainstream. It’s done all the time under the radar all the time. Jamey Johnson did it first, where he produced and wrote mostly everything on the album. That’s what I’m doing…I produced and wrote or co-wrote everything on the album. There’s seventeen tracks on the album right now.”
In these troubled economic times, Gracin feels that giving fans more music for their dollar is a great thing all around. “My pitch to the record label was that I can make you an album for $ 40,000-60,000 that will sound like a $400,000 record, and you’ll be able to get more music on it, and that will be attractive to more music buyers and listeners. That’s what I really tried to do — to jam pack the album with seventeen songs and sell it for what it’s worth. Seventeen songs for ten dollars — you can’t beat that!”
The album, She’s A Different Kind Of Crazy, will be a little different from his previously released music on Lyric Street Records. He’s excited to showcase a different side of the singer that many got to know during the 2003 season of “American Idol.” Look for a more R&B approach this time out.
“I grew up outside Detroit, and first started learning how to sing from R&B music, Motown, and oldies,” he says of his first musical memories. “A lot of the melodies I love to sing are very rangy and very moving. I first got into country music when I was thirteen with Garth [Brooks]. His music was very much the same way — very moving melodically. As far as content went, it was country because it was about life and life situations — how to cope, and how to deal. That’s the angle I took with this album,” he says of making She’s A Different Kind Of Crazy, admitting that his parting with Lyric Street Records might have been somewhat of a blessing in disguise.
“Had I not been away for a year, I would have made a third album that had songs on it that were good songs — but everyone else in Nashville was doing them. It was a scary time for me — being on my own, and not knowing where I was going to go. But, at the same time, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. The album is country by content, but it has melodies that I want to sing — very rangy melodies, and very different — ones you don’t hear too much of. I just wanted to show everybody outside the genre of country music that there are singers there waiting to stand toe to toe with who you think are the best in the country, whether me or somebody else. I think country music has kind of a cloud over it of entertainers and performers who are the all-around package. That’s my honest opinion. I just wanted to show that country singers can sing also. We can do falsetto, and the huge notes and everything else, and do it as good as anybody. That’s what I really wanted to do with this album.”
Gracin feels that the genre offers many of the best vocalists around — whether the style be contemporary or traditional, once again citing Jamey Johnson as an example. “I think that he is what you would call a traditional country music vocalist that can hold his own on an album, and also when you see him live. He doesn’t sound any different from what I’ve heard, and I’ve played a lot of shows with him. I think that’s what needs to be put on a pedestal in country music is people who can do that. I think that’s important. It’s what being a singer and an artist is about.”
It isn’t just today’s artists that set the bar high, either. Gracin alludes to a couple of his earliest influences to illustrate the point. “If you look into the 1980s, you don’t have to look very far. Take Ronnie Milsap and Kenny Rogers, their stuff was about as far left of center as you can get when it comes to instrumentation, but the content was country music — nothing else. It didn’t matter that there wasn’t steel or a fiddle or anything else like that. I think that Nashville is kind of fighting within itself right now, and I think that’s ridiculous. I see why it’s happening, but you’ve got traditionalists butting against the progressive thinking type.”
Gracin would love take a page from an artist who was able to mold the present with the past. “I would love to have the kind of career like Garth Brooks,” he says. “I wouldn’t begin to fill his shoes or anything like that, but he’s the guy that bridged the gap. Nashville was going through this in the early 1990s — the same exact thing. He came in, and found a way to make music that appealed to everybody, but was still accepted as country music. That’s what I really tried to do with this album. I tried to show people that country music can sing — we can do it just like everybody else, but keep the content country. To me, that’s the best form of a song. When you have a melody that vocalists love to sing — that is country music. I can only hope that my songs will even come close to that, but that’s really what I tried to do.”
The current single, “Over Me,” is already making an impact, particularly on his heavily-visited MySpace page. He told LimeWire Music Blog that all of the songs on this album come from a very personal place.
“When I first came to Nashville, I was choosing music based on what I liked. The demos that I heard, what I wanted to be a part of, and what I wanted to sing. It’s always hard to interpret someone else’s writing, because you didn’t go through that, so I have tried to find songs that I have had some kind of personal experience with. I think that’s what is so great about this new album. I’ve taken what I have learned from Nashville. I’ve learned a heck of a lot. To me, there are no better writers anywhere than here. Nashville has the best songwriters, hands down….and I love all genres of music. On my iPod, you’ll find everything from country to the most extreme rap you’ll ever think of. I’ve learned a lot from the writers here in the past six years. I have tried to take the music I loved to sing when I was growing up — R&B music, and the lyrics that I have loved to listen to since I first came here, and fuse those two together, and make an album that is 100% me. I can’t wait for people to hear it.”
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COLT FORD MAKES HEADLINES
Colt Ford will join Great American Country’s Storme Warren on this week’s “Headline Country” to talk about his new album, CHICKEN AND BISCUITS, as well as his influences, while touring the historic Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
Tune in to see what memorabilia stood out to Colt and why Storme was drawing comparisons to outlaw country artists like Hank Williams Jr. when referring to Colt’s unique style.
Tune in for “Headline Country” on Thursday, May 27 at 9 p.m. eastern. Full list of airings are below. Visit www.gactv.com for more details.
05.27.2010 9:00PM ET
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