HARDER BEAT

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Graham Colton - Long story short
By Mark Beneventi


Local artist Graham Colton has a story that can make other artists green with envy. The current chapter has him on tour with American Idol’s Kelly Clarkson, who has legitimized her career of late. And Colton’s latest CD, Drive, was produced by Brendan O’Brien (STP, Pearl Jam, Springsteen).

The full story is a short one.

Chapter one: Song writing in his SMU dorm room.

Chapter two: Demand for his internet-available music. “Kids just heard my stuff on-line and started asking for CDs,” Colton explains. “Napster was a big part of it.”

Chapter three: Forming a band and gigging. “I never wanted to be a singer/songwriter. I always wanted to be in a rock band,” says Colton. “I’m not really happy with the name [of the band].”

Chapter four: The miracle — a call from Adam Duritz of Counting Crows in 2002. “The call was from out of the blue. I guess he heard the CD,” Colton notes. “They wanted us to open up on tour for them.”

Chapter five: “Once one person or record company is into you, then it seems like everybody else wants you too!” Thus tours with Dave Matthews Band and now Kelly Clarkson. “We played a gig in New York and got signed that night,” he says. “We still tour in a van though. We don’t want to take anything for granted.”

The down-to-Earth nature is a breath of fresh air in a polluted industry. “At least I can say I’m a professional musician,” Colton says of reaching any goals. “We aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel. We just enjoy bringing classic rock to a new generation. Lots of these kids never heard of Tom Petty or even Counting Crows.”

With many new tales of friendships gained and lost from doing 300 shows a year, the Graham Colton Band had plenty of material for their brilliant new CD. And however the story ends, the present chapters are already beyond expectation — or as Colton would say, “they’re icing on the cake.”

Catch the band at Nokia Live on May 10.