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Josh Gracin at Central Michigan University

By Lisa Kiser

Josh Gracin

Josh Gracin

Turn it UP! Although the temperature was -10 outside, the heat was on as Michigan native Josh Gracin returned home to Central Michigan University to shatter the stillness of winter. Gracin is one of the most underrated performers in country today, so I was excited to spend the evening with a crowd clearly engaged in his stuff. Though he’s enjoyed his fair share of successes, with hits such as “Nothin’ to Lose” and “Brass Bed,” Gracin has yet to reach the power tower he should rightfully stand upon. Even I find myself forgetting that special feeling you get from hearing his music, so it was great to get reacquainted with one of my faves.

Funsies. If the Josh Gracin live experience had to be summed up in a word, that’d be it. Some artists are brilliant vocalists but lack showmanship, but not Gracin. I’ve seen him live several times, and he never fails to get the crowd going. One of the coolest twists to this show was when he partnered with his drummer to rock out in the middle of “Wheels.” And he wasn’t just a hack clowning it up—he did a really good job. Drumming abilities aside, his powerful voice sounded so right that even the acoustical nightmare of a gym that he was playing in couldn’t ruin the sound. I’d urge you to see him play outdoors if you get the chance—that’s where he’s truly in his element.

Gracin and company exploded crowd favorites, ranging from “Ain’t Goin’ Down till The Sun Comes Up” to newer hits such as “Telluride” and “Unbelievable,” the MySpace darling off his latest album. One of Gracin’s most admirable qualities, aside from his obvious talent, is his humbleness and genuine desire to be right where he’s at, doing what he loves. His passion shines through, making his concerts a destination that any country music fan can appreciate.

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