Artist Spotlight: Oklahoma-based singer-songwriter Graham Colton

Oklahoma City-based singer-songwriter Graham Colton put out his latest release, “Lonely Ones,” in January 2014. The record is a departure from his prior acoustic rock albums and contains more color, experimentation, production and grit. (jflint/Flickr)

Today’s artist spotlight is on the indie singer-songwriter from Oklahoma City, Graham Colton.

Colton put out his latest release, “Lonely Ones,” in January 2014. The record is a departure from his prior acoustic rock albums and contains more color, experimentation, production and grit. 

Colton strived to make the sound more modern, where collaboration with fellow musicians was a paramount element to the process. In an interview with A Music Blog Yea, Colton spoke on the change in approach for the new record saying, “It’s been a different type of influence on this record because I really put my creative faith in some of my closest musician friends here in town. I drew more from the current happenings in the Oklahoma music scene than my past experiences.”

As Colton has proved with his prior efforts, his ability to tell lyrical stories is alive and well, but it’s surrounded with a more ambitious alternative rock jacket. The lyrics can be darker at times too, heard in “Born To Raise Hell,” or express more vivid imagery, like in “Another Night.” The songs are highly melodic, featuring cascading piano octaves, a flowing string section and a growling low end in songs like “Mixed Up.”

The lead single “Born To Raise Hell,” features distorted guitar and bass progressions as well as Colton’s haunting falsetto. The song is about a troubled kid who kept spiraling, for Colton sings: “When he robbed a grocery store / He did his time he had thoughts in his head, monsters in bed / His heart was a cavern / It wasn't long before she was found lifeless and bound / Behind the tavern.”

Songs like “Before The Fall,” “Til The Night Run Out” and “Another Night” create an ambient environment that give the album some breathing room and lightness to it as well.

Speaking on the album as a whole, Colton said in an interview with A Music Blog Yea, “It for sure has an A & B side. I like that it has an ‘off season’ kind of feel. I wanted to write songs where my voice could be a part of a musical landscape and not stick out too much. I wanted to be a bit anonymous vocally on these songs.” 

Colton worked with longtime collaborators and producers Chad Copelin and Jarod Evans at Blackwatch Studios for “Lonely Ones.” It features elements of electronic, psychedelic pop and a good amount of ear-catching melodies and guitar riffs. On According to Colton’s Facebook profile, “‘Lonely Ones’ shows not just growth but almost complete reinvention – an exciting move for an artist who has already seen his share of commercial success.”

Notable tracks from Colton’s recent record are “Hands Untied,” “Mixed Up,” “Til The Night Runs Out” and “Born To Raise Hell.” Fans of Keane, Andrew Belle and Coldplay will especially enjoy Colton’s music. 

When confronted with evolving as an artist or continuing to make what he’s always done, Colton made the bold decision to delve into sounds and synths scarcely heard in his prior work. In “Lonely Ones” he proved that he could grow as an artist and still effectively tell stories within each song and the album as a whole.