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Josh Gracin

Josh Gracin – 2004 (Lyric Street)

Reviewed by Rick Bell

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CDs by Josh Gracin

It's no surprise that Josh Gracin didn't come out of the gates on his self-titled debut album with guns a blazin'. Leaning heavily on Garth Brooks-like phrasing and songs that don't venture much beyond livin', lovin' and havin' a good time, remember that country music is still Gracin's second full-time job.

For those who missed it, Gracin is the U.S. Marine who made it to the final four of Fox's 2003 installment of American Idol. He's committed to the Corps until September and must juggle duty to his country with duty to country music. Even so, Gracin has captured America's heart and wallet (he sold some 60,000 records the week the record debuted) with his boyish good looks and singles like "I Want to Live" on the 11-song release. Get past the single, and it's much the same.

Gracin offers radio-friendly cuts from songwriters Brett James, Terry McBride and Troy Verges with simple production from Marty Williams, who's worked with Rascal Fslatts.Here's a salute to Gracin. Even though there's no such thing as an ex-Marine, being a full-time country singer will reveal whether he truly deserves center stage in concert or a karaoke bar.