Gavin DeGraw Sets Free Release in March
"My intention on FREE was to stay out of the way of the songs," DeGraw says. "We kept the production very minimal in order to get everything that lies between me and the audience out of the way. By removing all the bells and whistles, you really make room for someone to pay attention to the songwriting." As a result, DeGraw's freewheeling melodies, heartfelt lyrics and soulful, blues-tinged vocal performances are front and center, creating an intimate experience for listeners.
Performed by a crack band that includes guitarist Audley Freed (Black Crowes), bassist Andy Hess (Gov't Mule), drummer Charley Drayton (Keith Richards' X-Pensive Winos), and keyboardist George Laks (Lenny Kravitz), FREE, the 10-song set ranges from new songs that were completed in the studio, such as "Stay" and "Mountains to Move," to tunes that DeGraw wrote very early in his career that have evolved with him, like "Dancing Shoes" and "Glass." "Those are songs only my die-hard fans would know," he says. "I wanted to properly record them because they're special to my fans." There's also a cover of Chris Whitley's "Indian Summer," a powerful number that DeGraw includes on FREE as a way to draw attention to one of his favorite artists. "I wanted to expose Chris' music to my fans," DeGraw says.
To keep himself from over-thinking the songs, DeGraw recorded FREE in less than two weeks at the Brooklyn studio of his producer Camus Celli, who has worked with such artists as Tina Turner, David Byrne, and Arto Lindsay. DeGraw and Celli have known each other since working together on an early version of DeGraw's platinum-selling 2003 major-label debut CHARIOT. "I've been in the studio with several different producers so I already knew what I wanted," DeGraw says. "This was my opportunity to be involved in the production, and I knew Camus could get the sounds I was going for."
The trust he had in Celli and the collaborative spirit of their partnership freed DeGraw up to dig deep and tap into something he says he hadn't tapped into for a while. "This album reveals the honesty about my love of music," he says. "It isn't about the biggest, the strongest, or the loudest. It's about simplicity in its purest form. It doesn't sound like the big machine. It sounds like where you go to escape the big machine."
In keeping with the stripped-down feel of FREE, DeGraw will hit the road on March 27th for an extensive spring tour he has dubbed his "Where It Began" tour, in which audiences will be taken on a musical journey back to DeGraw's roots for a series of intimate full band and solo performances. "We'll take a similar approach to the live shows as we did on the album," he says. "This tour is all about creating that very close connection with the audience."
FREE is the follow-up to DeGraw's self-titled 2008 album GAVIN DEGRAW, which debuted at No. 1 on the digital sales chart and No. 7 on Billboard's Top 200 album chart last May, earning DeGraw his first Top 10 album. GAVIN DEGRAW spawned the hit singles "In Love With A Girl," which Billboard dubbed "a rocking homerun" and the gold-certified "We Belong Together."
Gavin DeGraw's upcoming tour dates are as follows:
3/27 Portland, OR, Aladdin Theater
3/28 Seattle, WA, The Tractor
3/31 San Francisco, CA, Great American Music Hall
4/01 Los Angeles, CA, El Rey
4/02 San Diego, CA, Soma
4/04 Detroit, MI, Public Concert Stage
4/05 Scottsdale, AZ, Martini Ranch
4/06 Albuquerque, NM, Launchpad
4/08 Austin, TX, The Parish
4/09 Dallas, TX, The Loft
4/10 Houston, TX, House of Blues
4/11 Oklahoma City, OK, Diamond Ballroom
4/13 Columbia, MO, The Blue Note
4/15 Chicago, IL, Park West
4/16 Decatur, IL, Kirkland Fine Arts Center
4/17 Columbus, OH, Newport Music Hall
4/19 Manchester, NH, Southern New Hampshire University
4/20 New York, NY, Highline Ballroom
4/21 Harrisburg, PA, Whitaker Center
4/22 Philadelphia, PA, Theatre of Living Arts
4/24 Boston, MA, Paradise Rock Club
4/25 Reading, PA, Alvernia University
4/26 Alexandria, VA, Birchmere
4/28 Richmond, VA, The National
4/29 Knoxville, TN, The Square Room
5/01 Louisville, KY, Kentucky Derby Festival
5/03 Charlotte, NC, Neighborhood Theatre
5/04 Nashville, TN, Exit/In
5/05 Atlanta, GA, The Loft
5/07 Jacksonville, FL, Jack Rabbits
5/08 St. Petersburg, FL, State Theatre
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