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Graham Colton takes stage at Newby's

by Lori Simpson
DM Staff Reporter
February 18, 2005

After spending a great portion of the past three years touring with bands such as the Counting Crows and Better Than Ezra, the Graham Colton Band plans on making a stop in Memphis tonight, playing at Newby’s Bar and Grill on South Highland Street.

For Oklahoma City native Graham Colton, 23, music is a means of expressing himself, a passion he first discovered at age 17.

Colton, after graduating high school, went to Southern Methodist University in Dallas to play football with the intention of playing acoustic sets at area coffee shops and pubs.

After a time, Colton realized music was his true passion, and football began to fade behind his musical career. He developed a local following in Dallas and released an independent CD, which he sold via the Internet.

It was not until local nightclub owners began asking him about putting a band together that Colton decided to stray away from his acoustic singer-songwriter image and get together with other local musicians. He formed the Graham Colton Band.

Since their formation four years ago, the band has toured with such national acts as Guster, Maroon 5 and the Wallflowers, bands which greatly influenced Colton and his bandmates.

The songwriting process for the band changes frequently.

“All the songs come in a different way,” Colton said. “We write on the road, in hotel rooms, backstage areas and with friends.

“Being away from my comfort zone on the road was an inspiring place. It’s all inspiration in different ways.”

Every night, the band tries to change the vibe of their show.

“One night, my favorite song will be ‘South,’ and the next night it will be ‘Cigarette,’” Colton said. “We try to have chemistry and a vibe with the audience, which is an ever-changing thing.”

Tonight marks the band’s second Memphis show in six months. They opened for Better Than Ezra at the New Daisy Theatre in December.

“Memphis has always been a starting point for us,” Colton said, “When we first went on tour, we really felt like we were doing it for real when we crossed the bridge into Memphis.”

Other than playing with Better Than Ezra last year, the band has played Memphis with Sister Hazel at Rhodes College and at the Memphis in May music festival with Jack Johnson and Sheryl Crow.

As for the future, the band plans to continue touring and promoting their album, “Drive,” and to play shows across the southern United States, Memphis being the first of many.