American Idol winner in 2010 and dropped by RCA within a year of his post-Idol album release, Lee DeWyze is starting over with a new label (Vanguard) and what he’s saying in interviews about its release is an album that’s truly representative of who he is as an artist.
Say what you will about the AI phenomenon, and though it hasn’t been consistent in producing long term artists (Taylor Hicks, anyone?) this may just be the most surprisingly good album ever from a past winner. DeWyze was portrayed on the show as a ‘rocker’ and his major label album took that route as well, which makes the acoustic guitars, banjos, and other assorted flourishes of Americana music here all the more intriguing.
Much of the new material takes the new Mumford/Lumineers rocking acoustic direction, not unlike another recent AI winner, Phillip Phillips, but there’s more here than just a knockoff of the latest pop music trends. “You Don’t Know Me” is a piano-driven, slightly Beatlesque tune, and DeWyze does bring out the more ragged rocker persona on the driving “The Ride,” which invokes a bit of 70’s rock influence, from Foreigner to David Bowie.
In an interesting touch, the deluxe edition of this album includes two versions–the original full recording and a second, all acoustic version.