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Josh Gracin

We Weren't Crazy – 2008 (Lyric Street)

Reviewed by Rick Bell

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CDs by Josh Gracin

You'd think with the surprise success of Josh Gracin's 2004 self-titled debut that his record label would immediately follow its 3 top 10 singles with another helping of "American Idol"-fueled pop-country hits. But no. It took four years for the release of Gracin's sophomore album. Originally titled "All for Y'all," Gracin's second record was due in mid-2006, but Lyric Street delayed its release after the debut single fell flat on radio, pissing off Gracin and touching off a pack of hard feelings.

It's water under the bridge now, and as sophomore albums go, it's a safe, pleasant follow-up. The production generally is cluttered and uneven, and Gracin's comfortable country-pop lilt occasionally is lost. Five cuts from original producer Marty Williams remain, but six songs were produced by Brett James - three written by Gracin, including the tender album-closer "Unbelievable (Ann Marie)," a tribute to the wife who nearly left him.

Considering Gracin cranked out his debut to encouraging reviews and big commercial success while still a Marine and a frenzied post-Idol schedule, the fits and starts that plagued the new album didn't do much to create a better record.