indie.soulful » by Truth & Soul

Gavin DeGraw: Stripped

Why T&S Likes him » Here’s one you may already be aware of, but we figured it’s such a great classic bound to stand the test of time we really wanted to mention it anyway for those who haven’t: Gavin DeGraw’s Chariot: Stripped.

We feel like there’s a big problem pervading the music—specifically recording—industry nowadays: overproduction. Take anything you hear on the radio today (preferably a chart-topper) and compare it to any music recording made between the 1930s and 1970s (some might even argue up until the 80s) and you’ll start to appreciate a palpable difference: contemporary recordings tend to lack a little bit of sumpin’-sumpin’ that could be called presence. After a million takes of the same track and isolating all the musicians to record their parts separately from each other, you can’t help but notice that there may be something that ends up getting sacrificed in the process that no technology—no matter how cool, how slick, how bleeding edge—can make up for. It’s that certain quality, that incredible, magical energy that ends up happening when everything and everyone is focussed on being in the moment because you know you gotta get everything right in one take.

(Well, that’s how musicians seemed to do it back in the day but unfortunately nowadays everyone seems to confuse practice sessions with recording sessions. But eh, what’s a music lover to do but look a little bit a harder for quality music?)

Now imagine if you could take the same musician with the same songs and record them in the two different aforementioned ways: we’d bet you’d notice a huge difference. This is exactly what Gavin DeGraw has done with the mediocre Chariot and the vastly superior (at least that’s how T&S feels) Chariot: Stripped, with the former produced (and yes, very much so “produced”) like most records are today and the latter recorded as a live studio session.

We’ll admit it: T&S wasn’t a huge fan of Gavin DeGraw when he first hit radio and TV airwaves and consequently over-saturated ears all across America. After about the thousand-eighty-second time we heard him wailing “I don’t wanna be anything other than…” over the tinny speakers at the corner gas station we were kinda like, “Yeah, uh, I don’t wanna hear this anymore…”

But then, a glimmer of hope: a friend of ours introduced us to Gavin’s Chariot: Stripped and we gave him a second try. After all the layers and layers of instrumentation are stripped down to a simple ensemble of acoustic guitar, drums, bass (sounds like an upright), and of course, Gavin on the piano and vocals, something really starts to shine through: you notice how well-crafted the songs really are, and Gavin’s incredibly raw, emotional delivery of them are finally unobstructed by all the fanciness that so unfortunately got in the way before.

Make sure to check out Gavin’s amazing cover of an already amazing song by a previous feature on indie.soulful: “Change is Gonna Come” by the legendary Sam Cooke.

The Official Word » “Singer/songwriter Gavin DeGraw grew up playing music at home with piano studies beginning at eight and later playing in cover bands with his older brother in upstate New York. After a brief stint studying music at the prestigious Berklee School of Music, DeGraw, who had been writing his own songs since his cover band days, decided to make a go of it as a singer/songwriter in New York City. Upon his arrival in the late ‘90s, DeGraw made an impression with crowds, and occasionally with journalists, as his name began to pop up in columns and best-of lists. The steady buzz led to offers from major labels, but DeGraw chose to take his time, and let his craft develop and his audience grow.”

Approved By T&S »

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Every now and then truth & soul uncovers amazing music. We wanted a special way to share it with you, so we created indie.soulful.

Our featured musicians usually:

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Not all features will necessarily fit all three points mentioned above, and sometimes we may even throw something at you from left field. In the end, though, we just wanna spread the beautiful music in our hearts.*

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