Graham Colton, center, got his start playing acoustic sets in Deep Ellum.
Will Hoge (http://www.willhoge.com)
The Graham Colton Band holds a CD release party at Gypsy on May 22, with Will Hoge and Jay Quinn.
The Graham Colton Band is ready for its close-up. Just listen to "Don't Give Up on Me," the opener for their debut album, Drive, slick as a waterslide with its sing-along chorus and digitally tweaked vocals. It's like it was born on MTV2. Actually, the band's origins are much closer to home: Oklahoma-born Graham Colton was kicking around Deep Ellum when he started collaborating with guitarist Turtle (that's his name: Turtle), bringing along bassist Ryan Tallent, drummer Jordan Elder and guitarist Drew Nichols for the ride. It wasn't long before Universal took note, scooping up the band before it had built much of a local following. For the past year, they've been hoofing it on the road with the likes of Counting Crows and Guster, a band they emulate in sound if not in lyrical sophistication. "Don't go away/Say you'll stay," Colton coos on "Morning Light"; that's the kind of lovestruck, banal sentiment you can expect from Drive: a line that was stale when Oasis used it. Still, what the 21-year-old Colton lacks in musical originality and bite, he makes up for in, well, drive.