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Pacific Coast Eyes

Graham Colton

Chances are you’ve already heard Graham Colton’s music. Besides opening for Kelly Clarkson, Counting Crows, Dave Matthews Band, and Maroon 5, his songs were used as exit music on American Idol and in emotional montages of Oprah Winfrey’s Big Give.

Listening to his current release, Pacific Coast Eyes, you understand exactly why someone like Oprah licensed his work.

There’s a largeness to it. A wide open honesty that at any given moment makes you feel like you’re having the time of your life in a Kodak commercial or sharing a long embrace with your State Farm Insurance agent.

That natural ability to enhance story lines is most evident in the title track. The unusual kick and clap intro sets a tone of uncertainty. Midway through the first verse you envision two lovers alone in their respective worlds, contemplating lost love. By the time the hook hits you’re carried away to the tearful boy-gets-girl embrace, ready to attend the wedding.

But the album gives you much more than great backdrop music. Splashy pop rock standouts “Waiting For Love”, “1981” and “Suitcase” marry solid structure with superb lyrics. They’re as straight ahead as pop rock gets and sure to find happy homes on mainstream radio play lists.

A touch of R&B keys and bass line in “Everything You Are” along with the oh so country leaning “You’re On Your Way” prove the Oklahoma native can move to Nashville or New York, write for Christina Aguilera or Shania Twain.

On a deeper level, “Graceland” and “Love Comes Back Around” beautifully display Colton’s self-reflective study of love and the process of maturity. These gentle testaments to human imperfection remind us that love is not always graceful, but well worth sorting out.

Colton earned his stripes with Pacific Coast Eyes. Chances are you’re going to hear a lot more from him. Maybe he’ll even score a film or two.

- Renée Westbrook