Some may recall, or identify most with singer/songwriter Gavin Degraw by his hit ‘I Don’t Want To Be’ off his debut album, Chariot; made popular by the WB’s iconic drama One Tree Hill. In the decade since then, Degraw has built a moderately sized, but passionately devoted following. Some of his other hits in addition to the chart-topper, ‘I Don’t Want To Be,’ include, but are not limited to: ‘Chariot,’ ‘Soldier,’ and ‘Not Over You.’ The New York native has been playing the piano since he was 8, and has continuously been writing music since he was small. Yet, inarguably, over the years it has been the songs that feature a heavy emphasis on his ardently crafted piano tunes that earned him the most rewarding responses. His release of Chariot + Chariot Stripped in 2004 solidifies the fact that it is his original piano pieces that distinguish him from the rest. His songs lacking a strong influence from other instruments like the guitar, bass, and drums, allow for his distinctively raw and soothing voice to take the spotlight. It is these acoustic based tracks where he sounds most at home.
His fifth and most recent album, Make A Move, came out in Fall of 2013. Though his signature voice still prevails, it has to be said that this most recent album has the overriding qualities of a loveable mutt. In other words, many musical influences are clearly present here. The album’s single, ‘Best I Ever Had,’ bears a heady resemblance to Train’s ‘Drive By’ (to be specific). Though catchy, in the poppy way that radio singles aim to be, I would not have chosen it to be the album’s leading general. Take the album’s namesake, ‘Make A Move’ for example, the song seems to make a move towards Maroon Five’s traditional sound, rather than Degraw’s.