Graham Colton Band


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Dallas' Graham Colton Band got their first break as an opening act for Counting Crows, and on their debut album you can hear what attracted Adam Duritz & co. to them. They are a straight-ahead guitar rock group, the two electric guitars ringing out over the propulsive rhythm section and dominating the sound, with Colton's acoustic guitar getting an audible strum here and there (and more than that on the occasional song intro) and his gruff, nasal voice cutting through. Rock specialist Brendan O'Brien produced, and he has given the music force without robbing it of its melodic appeal. You wouldn't mistake the group for Counting Crows, but now and then you might think Gin Blossoms were playing, or even Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. The big differences lie in the songs and the frontman. Colton's lyrics find an "I" narrator speaking to a "you" with whom he is (or was) romantically involved, and for the most part he's not bringing good news. It's the oldest subject known to popular music, and Colton doesn't have much new to add to it, which means his songs-as-written don't have the resonance of his mentors'. He also needs to work on his singing to bring out what resonance they might hold. He knows how to sing rock, which is to say, how to stay on the beat and rise above the guitar parts, and he knows how to lean into a chorus. But he doesn't sing like what he's singing matters to him, and so it doesn't matter to the listener, either. Drive is a good beginning for a young rock group; with any luck the bandmembers will look back on it someday and see what it could have been.

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