New Album Lets Gavin DeGraw's Brother Improve Old Songs
"Say Something Strong," due out June 9, features re-recordings of three songs -- "Tragedy," "Sunny" and "Your Last Day" -- from the 2005 debut of Gavin DeGraw's big brother, "Midnight Audio." "I wanted to kind of move past them," DeGraw tells Billboard.com, "but the producer (Steve Greenwell) said not a lot of people have heard them and he would prefer to do those over. They were better live, so I was able to capture what we were doing with them (on stage)."
"Sunny" in particular gets a twist in the new recording thanks to guest appearances by Mountain guitarist Leslie West, with Gavin DeGraw providing backing vocals. "(West) got ahold of the first record and really liked a couple of the songs. I asked him if he would be involved with re-recording 'Sunny,', and he agreed and we just let him go crazy with a guitar solo at the end, which was great."
Spin Doctors' Chris Barron also appears on "Say Something Strong," as does Joss Stone, who sings harmony on "Another Mistake" -- a song DeGraw initially wrote for her. "She was a little bit involved emotionally with the song, so it was natural for her to be on it," he says.
DeGraw hopes to tour "as much as possible" to support "Say Something Strong" and is already on one tour with fellow singer-songwriter and "All New Mickey Mouse Club" alumnus Tony Lucca. But he also has his next album mapped out, which DeGraw hopes he won't take another four years to deliver.
"If you're familiar with "Hotel Vast Horizon," the Chris Whitley album, that's what I'm going for -- no electric guitars, not even drum sticks, really, just brushes and acoustic guitars but still heavy at the same time," he explains. "It's only going to take about two weeks to record it, so I would say it'll be (out) within a year, maybe. They're all new songs, too; that's always a lot of fun. I'm actually real excited about it."