Review The Artist (15)
Rock n' roll is seldom a predictable affair. Just ask Chris Daughtry. Better yet, examine the very public arc the enigmatic musician carved against the grain of American Idol, electrifying the show's faithful audience with a gloves-off vocal style that revealed astonishing breadth with every new song. Still, he found himself at the center of the most surprising live rub-out in modern television history. Premature elimination, they called it on the internet, and even though a controversial lack of votes ended Chris' quest for the top rung of American Idol 5 (a spot so widely presumed to be his, even Entertainment Weekly referred to it as "the surest thing in Idol history") it ignited a groundswell of support from fans vowing he would soon be blazing his own trail.
So much for the audition...
His new album, DAUGHTRY, on 19 Recordings/RCA Records fully delivers on that promise, but what's most striking about the North Carolina native's debut is the skillfulness with which he blends his hard won attributes: The rugged voice tempered by an even sturdier sense of place. The audacious appetite for risk reflected in his hardscrabble on-the-road writing sessions with proven rockers - some of them his own formal idols - like Brent Smith of Shinedown (Chris even covered one of their songs on Idol), Mitch Allan of SR-71, and Hinder producer Brian Howes. Emboldened by riveting collaborations such as "What I Want," "It's Not Over," "There And Back Again," and the probing "All These Lives," it's evident Daughtry possesses a durable songwriting presence of his own.
Helmed by Howard Benson (My Chemical Romance, All-American Rejects), the album thoroughly mines Daughtry's instinctive ability to deliver accessible music at every turn, veering from pop gems to tight-fisted rock anthems. Chris particularly rises to the occasion on one of the songs penned solely by him, the stunning ballad "Home." "That song means a lot to me in so many ways," he says. "It's also one that I wrote even before I did the show, though it somehow seems to capture how far I've come along." More proof of DaughtryÌs uncanny ability - as one LA Times critic recently put it - to "find the story" in every song he attempts.
Daughtry has also assembled his very own band (aptly called DAUGHTRY), signaling that the charismatic vocalist is more than willing to put it all on the line. He committed to an intense audition process right from the start, determined to achieve that crucial bond between members. Daughtry summoned his keen instincts when meeting and choosing the players who would eventually become his band, tapping into both the interpersonal chemistry and musical compatibility of the guys who would eventually make the cut.
"I began my music career as a songwriter, but I've always believed in the power of a band. The great moments are when you're able to capture that extra special connection between members that you can't really define. That's what I'm striving for. We've found the right guys and I'm really excited about the prospects of what we can do. We didn't have time to feature them on the album but I canÌt wait to hit the road with them." For Chris, who drew consistently rave reviews on the summer-long Idol 5 jaunt, mixing it up with his own players will give his live show an even greater dimension. "There's nothing like the camaraderie of a band. That feeling that you're surrounded by a group of people who feel closer to you than just about anybody. It makes such a difference in the music."
And as for the music - poring over songs in some hotel room at 3:00AM with guys who only a year ago I was dreaming about meeting one day - well - it still blows my mind sometimes," he says. The combustible process produced a hefty batch of 21 songs for Daughtry to draw from. "I never wanted to dictate a set path when we started working with the writers," he says. "They are all so different, so awesome in their own way. One of them would fly in and we'd have a go-around and something would start from that." He wrote 3 songs with Brian Howes, citing the resulting "What I Want," as the kind of out-of-the gate, upbeat rocker people will expect from me. I remember we liked it so much we listened to it in the car after the session. Brian is great, so full of ideas; heÌs like a one-man library of music." The song also piqued the interest of acclaimed rock guitarist Slash, who dropped by the studio to thread his legendary guitar work into the blistering mix.
Another song Daughtry fans should immediately relate to is the first single and blazing rocker "It's Not Over." "It's one of my favorites. I did it with Greg Wattenberg (produced Five For Fighting, and does A&R for Wind-Up Records). It's about relationships that you ultimately screw up but swear youÌre going to get right the second time. That feeling when you keep doing the same thing thinking youÌre going to get a different result, still, you keep trying." Daughtry was also eager to write with Brent Smith, frontman for Jackson, Florida band, Shinedown. "He was great to work with, not to mention that I've stolen a few moves from him on stage as well." The two are both huge Chris Cornell fans, and penned what Daughtry refers to as one of the heavier' songs on the album, "There And Back Again."
The range of material suits the disciplined vocalist. "I've never believed a song has to have a rock edge, or be part of one genre or anything like that to be viable. I've been writing songs since I was 16, and my goal has always been to approach the process with an open mind. Songwriters I really admire are people like Robert Plant or an Elton John, who aren't setting out to write a rock song everytime but a great song that stands on its own no matter what. I also believe it's what you do with the song that matters, as well."
Chris recalls a moment from his Idol experience where he realized he was winning over rock fans purely on the power of his edgy interpretations. "I'll never forget I was invited to this hard rock radio station weenie roast, and I thought "should I go, they'll probably sneer at the whole Idol experience." I went anyway, and was thoroughly embraced by everyone there it was such a great feeling. Rob Zombie came up to me and told me he watched the show and loved what I did. Now that was really an honor."
The singer also cherished the experience of consulting with BMG U.S. Chairman Clive Davis, also known for his legendary commitment to good songwriting. Davis has even been known to choose some of the songs for the final Idol rounds. "He was a great guy. Very good at seeing the entire picture," says Chris. "I brought in my guitar and played "Home" for him. I couldnÌt believe it was Clive Davis sitting 2 feet from me as I sang. He said some very encouraging words to me."
Such encounters have made Chris aware of how he might be able to help struggling musicians who have yet to be discovered. "I'll never forget what it was like. To go from playing in front of 50 people to an audience of thousands. I'm always trying to hook up bands I've played with, encouraging whoever I can. It's why I work so hard to make these songs unique. I owe to those who've supported me and to those still trying to climb up that ladder."
It's that same passion, that sense of communal all-for-one-ness Daughtry so empathetically telegraphs to his fans that he poured into the making of the album. "Yes we were in crunch time, making it," says Daughtry. "But I never got the feeling I was going somewhere creatively that I didnÌt belong." Pure Daughtry. You get the feeling he's still "an event unfolding" wrote one critic, about his ability to extend his reach with every performance. A sensibility he's magically been able to capture on the new record.
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how great your music is | Reviewer: Joyce | 8/24/10
Wow you guys are really great I love your songs you're my third favorite band, you guys should rock out in really famous places I love your band. keep up the good work and good luck. YOU ROCK OUT LOUD GUYS! good job. Joyce
Brilliant | Reviewer: Katie | 5/21/09
I was quite disappointed back in the day (I make it sound like it was over 50 years ago, haha) when Chris was third runner up in AI. I actually thought he'd take the title, but I guess the rest of America thought different.
But it's a good thing he didn't because when a contestant wins on that show, they're always bound to carry a title along with them. American Idol has always churned out more Pop/R&B artists than they have rock and/or country singers (Kelly Underwood, Fantasia, Ruben Studdard, Jordan Sparks etc.,etc)
That genre really doesn't fit Chris at all. So I'm glad he didn't win... That he was able to build a band up by himself and achieve fame without AI playing <i>too</i> much part in it... Other than the fact that he got discovered by way of that show.
His lyrics are, unlike most cliche and teen-angst-ridden bands these days) true and packed full of sincerity. They're about real life occurrences, problems, obstacles...
Things that we deal with everyday and struggle through.
Not, "Oh woe is me... I just got broken up with and now I'm all depressed."
Things that make us say "Wow.... I'm glad somebody finally made a song about that."
If you can't bring yourself to like this band, I'm not going to call you names, to each his own, right?...
But I urge you to sit down and read the lyrics, maybe it will change your mind.
have you noticed something? | Reviewer: Anonymous | 2/4/08
does anyone notice how similar feels like tonight and home are? feels like tonight is faster yes but the song structure and notation are very similar if not identical. you guys gotta check it out though get your own opinion im just the guy tippin you off. daughtry still rocks i wish i could sing like him.
hey daughtry love u | Reviewer: natalie | 11/30/07
hey i love ur songs their great i would really love to meet u i'm ur biggest fan right now we live with mii grandamother cause mii stepfather kicked us out of our house me mii mom and mii five year old sister were managing with the three bedrooms with five ppl living their with ten cats three dogs and a mouse. mii favorite song is the going home just because i think i can relate to this song another reason that we dont have a house is because mii mom doesnt have a job and her car just got taken away. i'm eleven years old and i can't have mii 12th b-day party anywhere cause we don't have a house and mii mother has no money. feel so weriod telling u mii life but i think i can trust u bye luv u lots natalie robins moile alabama>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> hick town lol im not a farmer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! is't that where ur from well never mind that bye im at the west regional libarary bye bye!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
over you | Reviewer: Anonymous | 11/12/07
there is no real story behind alot of songs. im not sure if thats the case with this song or not chris mightve known someone like this or dated an alcoholic. do the lyrics really mention that? dont read too much into the video most are just there as a story separate from the song but hey you never know.
Do you know... | Reviewer: Hannah | 11/9/07
Hey you guys...does anyone know the story behind the song "Over You". If some one could please tell me that would be great...thanks.
awesome | Reviewer: Anonymous | 11/5/07
I love how the song "over you" Not only talks about relationships but the factors that affect relationships 'like ALCOHOL'. I mean that is what the song is about. the girl is an alcoholic and at the end when the guy leaves she realizes what was really happening and why he left. That's why at the end she is in a room introducing herself to the group of people. I personally experienced something like that so this song hits me hard.
awesome | Reviewer: Anonymous | 10/18/07
hinder and and daughtry both have elements of 2 great bands guns n roses(hinder) and bon jovi(daughtry). what impresses me is that daughtry is new to the industry yet it sounds like theyve been doin this for years. chris is a great vocalist but his band is great. the guitar work is some of the best ive heard of the post grunge era, and theres some good bass and drums to. im worried that the greatness wont last cause they dont need to evolve at this point and they also lost their guitarist. but hey ive doubted fall out boy over and over again but ive been wrong to doubt them. either way these guys rock. peace.
hi daughtry | Reviewer: phanice | 10/12/07
Hi hope you are well i am from Kenya and i listen to your music which is just owe some iyou are talented and i love you and your music especially the song "its not over" i wish i could marry you but since that is not possible i would like you to know i wish you all the best cause you are the best
hi | Reviewer: phanice | 10/12/07
oh my im from kenya and i love your music i mean you are so talented and i look forward to listening to most of you songs too bad you can never marry me but if you were to do so i would be the happiest woman on earth all the best for you arethe best
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