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Graham Colton going his own way

Published Thursday, October 27, 2011 Updated: Thursday, October 27, 2011 - 12:32am

Graham Colton had a seven-year run with a major record label, but he’s having more fun going his own way.

After Universal dropped him, Colton gathered some friends and started working on a new album, “Pacific Coast Eyes,” which he released last week.

“I got tired of trying to hit one small target — you know, radio play — and wanted to give a bunch of new music to my fans,” he said. “I feel like I get to be connected with my fans more now than ever.”

Colton is just 29, but he’s been playing big shows for 10 years. Counting Crows and Better Than Ezra jump-started his career a decade ago by making him the opening act on different tours.

Those bands are Colton’s biggest influence, which explains his Pacific pop style that is heard throughout “Pacific Coast Eyes.”

The accompanying music video also is homemade. He stars in the video with his wife, while several friends and relatives make cameo appearances as the couple run toward each other from opposite sides of the country.

Colton is touring independently in a natural gas-powered van. The tour takes him through Athens on Tuesday. The show, he says, will be rather homegrown, too.

“It’s very stripped-down and natural right now,” Colton said. “We go out and play a different show every night.”

— Joe VanHoose, Staff