At times, studio polish offers a mere pretty reflection of the spirit within a musician.
At times, studio polish offers a mere pretty reflection of the spirit within a musician. Such is the case with Gavin DeGraw's original, Mark Endert-produced "Chariot"; that is, when compared with this new, unplugged version of the album, appropriately titled "Chariot Stripped." An acoustic live studio recording, like this one, captures the essence of what makes DeGraw's music move: raw passion. His vocals—a falsetto that would make any R&B singer jealous—come across loud and clear. From the honest intimacy of the track "Chariot" to his compelling rendition of Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come," DeGraw makes every track worthwhile. And while his own lyrics can at times lack depth, they serve as a great function of his emotion. His words display the courage of what it means to be stripped, leaving nothing but truth. In this way, they point to a genuine artist.—MDS