Josh Gracin Talks Football, “Good for You”, and Swinging for the Fences
Country star Josh Gracin has been making great music since 2004, and after a bit of a break from the spotlight, he has a new type of tune to offer his fans. His new single is called “Good for You,” and while it is quite a bit different from his earlier works, it might just be a homerun. We caught up with him yesterday to talk about the song and where he’s headed from here.
After flying under the radar for a little bit, how does it feel to be getting back into it and getting back on radio?
It feels really good… It’s one of those things where you’re like a quarterback that used to be the starter, had a couple bad years or bad throws... and it’s kind of like that, where I’ve been watching country music change and it’s changed a ton. I’ve been watching how the business has been moving too… and [I've been] learning and getting better; and it’s one of those things where you're just itching to get back in the game to show people everything you’ve learned, everything you’ve been doing, and I wanna start going forward.
You’ve had a couple “super bowls” as a quarterback if you will- some really good success- but it’s been a little bit ago. And it’s almost like a different artist released that stuff than the artist that released “Good for You”... How did that transition come about?
I grew up in Michigan and I first learned to sing off Otis Redding, Al Green, Sam Cooke, guys like that. That’s what I was exposed to. And then around 13 or 14 years old I got into country music. So I’ve always been trying to figure out a way to kind of fuse that love of the old R&B Soul with country music.
And then I heard ‘Good for You’ a few months ago...and right away I just got connected to it and was like ‘I gotta record this; I wish I would have written it.’ kind of thing. And just to get in the studio and pull what I’ve learned in country music for the last 13/ twenty-something years in with the roots of what started getting me to sing, it was very cool...It’s a very different song from what I’ve actually recorded, but not so different from what I’ve sang.
Did you look at a lot of songs? This is the come back single, so was it a hard decision or did you just find it and say ‘That’s the song’?
Standing on the sidelines and having some time to watch and learn, you know kind of what songs are becoming hits and what songs people are gravitating towards, so it’s always very scary when you record a song that is so different from what you see going up the charts. It’s one of those things where, I love the song, I love the vibe; it’s so different, and you’re hoping that radio and the country music fans ignore the fact that it’s that different and just listen to the song, see what the songs about about...and that they can attach to it.
We heard tons of songs and I recorded 7 or 8...and 'Good for You' was actually the late addition. We recorded it with another producer, relied heavily on Reviver [Music] and their team to be that different voice...and when we were done [with ‘Good for You’], it was unanimous. ‘That’s the song.’
It’s so different; we’re swinging for the fences...when you’re looking for a song to get back out there you’ve gotta heave a couple hail marys up there and hope [your] receivers pull it down for a touchdown.
You’re from Michigan...and you’ve pretty much made it known that you were gonna be a country artist from day one. But this smooth sound sounds so good on you… Is the proverbial identity crisis that country music is going through a positive development for you? Is this somewhere you see yourself really comfortable in?
I think so , and I think it’s also a positive thing for country music in general. Not to take away from pop music or anything… but it isn’t really gonna go any place else. Pop music mostly goes in cycles… whereas country music doesn’t do that. Country music is constantly evolving and changing. But to me what makes country country, no matter how much it changes sound wise, is the lyrics, it’s the story. And to me that’s country music, always will be country music. No matter how it sounds, as long as the artist or the writer is telling a story and [when] you listen to it it’s almost like you’re watching it unfold... That’s country music. As long as it stays that way it always will be.
What are we gonna see from Josh Gracin in the future? Is it gonna look like ‘Good for You’, or are you gonna keep mixing it up?
I’m gonna keep mixing it up… I think that’s the way I’ve always approached music...Universal is my niche. I feel like I can sing different styles but somehow pull it in.