Free follows Gavin DeGraw's eponymous second album by less than a year -- a quick turnaround by any standard, but its swiftness is shocking considering that it took him half a decade to deliver a follow-up to his 2003 debut, Chariot. Free feels as if it were recorded quickly: it weighs in at a mere nine songs, including a reworking of the previous album's "Young Love" and a cover of Chris Whitley's "Indian Summer," bringing the total of new tunes to an EP-length seven songs, every one given a treatment that's decidedly looser and smaller in scale than the slick, overworked Gavin DeGraw. Such intimacy suits DeGraw's new songs, which tend to be ruminative, but this subdued setting also shows the seams in his writing and performance, whether it's his adoption of a mush-mouthed, bluesy growl for "Indian Summer" or how he stitches together clichés and naiveté on the spartan closer, "Why Do the Men Stray." But between these two bookends is the most consistent music DeGraw has yet made -- yes, he could use at least one hook as big as "I Don't Wanna Be," but Free manages to flow easily and warmly, something that couldn't quite be said of the blue-eyed soul bluster of his first two albums.
Performance CreditsGavin DeGraw Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Piano,Vocals
Charley Drayton Drums
Audley Freed Guitar
Andy Hess Bass
George Laks Hammond Organ,Clavinet,ARP,Wurlitzer,Arp Strings,Hammond B3
Alvin Moody Bass
Jack Petruzzelli Guitar,Omnichord
Matt Flynn Drums
Jack Petrucelli Guitar,Omnichord
Technical CreditsChris Whitley Composer
Camus Mare Celli Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Michelle Holme Art Direction
Gavin DeGraw Composer,Producer,Audio Production
Josh "Eddie" Grant Engineer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Free based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
On his third album, Gavin Degraw breaks free of the controllers who had molded and shaped his image and persona on the second album. Free is such a very personal album that listening to it is almost like reading a diary. Over the years, our girl Gavin has seen many personal and professional ups and downs and many of them are explored on the album. The songwriting and song production are excellent and Gavin's powerful voice is full of emotion, and that makes this album one of the best. This album is definitely a creative leap forward for Gavin. On this album, he sounds more comfortable, more self-assured than ever. A perfect example of his apparently newfound confidence is the track "Waterfalls." The track is the audio equivalent of an intimate evening your significant other. It just oozes true love, and Gavin's strong, powerful vocals on the song are realization of the potential that he displayed on his first two albums. Whether choosing an up-beat tune, a slow love ballad, Gavin does them all equally well. One of the first songs "FREE", is a great ballad and you can tell that he is on a mission to improve himself and nothing is going to stand in his way. Another track with an outstanding vocal performance is the album's first single, "Stay" "Why don't you stay, I need you here with me. When you're away, all others disappear." So for those who have followed Gavin Degraw through some, most or all of his career, the good news is: FREE is definitely his best album so far. Gavin also picked two great ballads with fan favorites "Dancing Shoes" and "Glass." They aren't his previous live records but listening to them, the pure essence of the meaning of the songs shine through. "Indian Summer" is a song I've heard covered by several artists, which was originally recorded by Chris Whitley. No matter who does it, it is a great love song. It's evident by this album that Gavin is still growing as an artist, and as long as he continues to grow and evolve, he'll eventually rise to the top of his field.