Back to Graham Colton Band

Root/rock musicians morph into pop realm
Published in the Asbury Park Press 07/29/05

If success is determined by attitude, then Graham Colton has a chance at a great career. The easygoing singer/songwriter doesn't believe in bad days, seeing everything as an opportunity. So when the leader of the rootsy rock band that has opened shows for Dave Matthews, Jewel and John Mayer was asked to go on the road with pop star Kelly Clarkson, Colton acquiesced.

"Not many of my peers might have been as into this as I am," Colton said while calling from Nashville, Tenn. "I look at the chance of going out and touring with Kelly as a great situation for us. It's about performing in front of a big audience filled with young fans. What people don't realize is that this isn't that big a deal because a lot of music fans are into a lot of different artists. Kids that go out and see the Dave Matthews Band put on their hippie clothes and they're the same kids that put on their punk outfit to see Green Day. A lot of those kids might see Kelly Clarkson, too. You have to be open to things or you won't go as far."

When the Colton Band, which will perform on a bill with Clarkson on Saturday at Toms RiverFest, recorded its debut disc, "Drive," in 2002, the group listened and learned a good deal from veteran producer Brendan O'Brien.

"I wasn't questioning what he was bringing to the table," Colton said. "This is a guy who has produced Bruce Springsteen and Pearl Jam. He knows a little something about what he's doing. We were all ears."

O'Brien left the Colton Band to its own devices for much of the sessions. As a result, "Drive" is a relatively raw CD.

"Brendan encouraged us to leave the imperfections on the disc," O'Brien said. "He let us figure things out, but I must say that his genius is in how he helped arrange the songs. After we were done, he told us that this album won't age with us well."

What O'Brien meant is that the songs will continue to evolve onstage. "He was right about that," Colton said. "The songs are morphing all the time."

The Colton Band is working on new songs, but the group isn't ready to make another album.

"We've been on the road so much that we need more time before we make another disc," Colton said. "I was 20 when we made "Drive' and I'm 23 now. I just hope that I'm a little wiser when go into the studio the next time. If I had to guess what the next disc will sound like, I think it's going to sound even more rootsy, almost alt-country, but we'll see."