DeGraw dabbles in rock on sophomore album


NEW YORK -- After five years of supporting his 2003 debut "Chariot," Gavin DeGraw is finally prepared to release his next studio effort. The as-yet-untitled sophomore set will arrive some time in March via J Records, produced by Howard Benson.

"The album is moving in a much more rock direction," DeGraw tells Recording recently wrapped for what the 30-year-old singer/songwriter hopes will be an 11-12 song effort. It will once again feature compositions written by DeGraw on piano; first singe "In Love with a Girl" will likely hit radio before month's end. DeGraw will be backed with a "newbie" band, with players like bassist Chris Chaney (Alanis Morissette, Jane's Addiction) and guitarist Tim Pierce.

Tracks like the single, "Young Love" and "Cop Stop" ("Baby I'm a cop / stop, put up your hands and surrender to me") revisit the themes of love and relationships which dominated "Chariot." "I spend the most ridiculous amount of time of writing lyrics," he says. However, with the addition of heavier guitar lines and a faster pace, DeGraw hopes the effort comes off more "primal."

"I've had a lot of time to make these songs, but didn't really have any down time from one thing to the next," he says. "When I came off the road, I thought, 'Now I can relax and spend time with people that I love.' But then I thought, 'I can't lose steam here.'"

DeGraw admits constant touring fueled the massive popularity of the last album's "I Don't Want To Be" and title track. "Getting on the radio is always very important," he says. "For me, that's what a major label wants, and my career was assisted by that. Fortunately, I have a touring career of some kind, too. If my album tanks, then I guess that's what some people would consider 'career suicide.' But I can't live in fear of that. I'm not too concerned."