Saturday, November 5, 2011

Gavin DeGraw's "Sweeter" has an Edge

On Gavin DeGraw’s fourth studio album, he has done some evolving.

“The record as a whole, I think it’s just a little bit sexier than anyone’s ever heard before,” DeGraw says.

Sweeter was released in September, and Sunday he's performing at PlayhouseSquare's Palace Theatre, where he is co-headlining with American Idol winner David Cook.

DeGraw's first single from the new album, “Not Over You,” has gotten steady radio airplay, and it currently sits in the top 50 of Billboard’s Hot 100. Co-written and produced by Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic, the track is another example of how DeGraw’s style has changed.

“Every album I’ve made prior to this record I’ve always wrote alone. This particular album I thought it was important to just change it up a little bit,” DeGraw says. Having multiple producers helped mold the sound of this record, too.

On the title track and “Radiation,” locals will be happy to hear DeGraw pulled some inspiration from Akron natives The Black Keys by embracing a raw, edgier sound.

“There’s moments of romance on the record, but I also think that there’s moments of just straight up sex and masculinity,” DeGraw says. “Some of the things that really aren’t played within the so-called singer-songwriter realm. That bullsh-t safe term called singer-songwriter.”

On some of the tracks where he does get a little edgier, DeGraw said some people will say, “Holy sh-t, are you sure that’s Gavin DeGraw?” But that’s what he likes about it because that’s him, too.

He’s not a singer-songwriter — he’s an artist — and he’s unwilling to be pigeon-holed, he says.

“I’m not going to be romantic every time,” DeGraw says. “Sometimes I’m just going to get real with somebody and be like, ‘Yo, this is how I’m feeling.’"

Gavin DeGraw performs at the Palace Theatre Sunday, Nov. 6, at 7 p.m. He is co-headlining with David Cook. Tickets are $10-$45. DeGraw photo credit: Patrick Fraser

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