Everyone who watches American Idol knows Lee DeWyze. Former paint store employee, struggling musician, Chicagoan, possibly the next American Idol. Well, some people may not know that before his appearance on American Idol he worked with a small Chicago label called Wuli Records, where he recorded this debut album, So I’m Told.
So I'm Told highlights the mellow, raspy notes in Lee's voice that have been brought to light on American Idol. In this 11 track album, Lee showcases a more laid back vibe with a John Mayer/Dave Matthews Band feel. In some songs I feel like Lee may be trying to emulate both a little too much, but perhaps that's because his voice lends towards their style.
I enjoyed the story behind the song, "Love and Misery," but the beat was somewhat sing-songy. However, after listening a couple more times I found myself getting into the song and enjoying it. My favorite piece of this song is when Lee hooks the listener with an upbeat climax at the end of the song rather than the middle. I was delightfully surprised and pleased.
The guitar riffs of Lee's "Predicament" make me excited to hear what else is on the CD. It gives listeners a little flavor and surprises me to know that he's from Chicago and not New Orleans or another soul-filled state. This is a song you can really get into and, if you're lead to, maybe even clap your hands too.
Let's not forget the harmonica and female vocals in this album that gives it a little extra, something nice to expect from Lee's first album. I could really see Siobhan Magnus, another American Idol contestant recreating the duet with Lee singing, "The Problem Is You."
If you are an American Idol fan or viewer, the music in So I'm Told may be something you will have to get used to, but I think in all that will appeal to several different music genres. I found myself listening over and over again, liking a song one minute and then not really caring for it the next.
I'm not expecting Lee's Idol album (if he wins American Idol,) to be too reminiscent of his earlier days, because So I'm Told is not extremely commercial, but I'd love to hear an album with these same roots, and maybe a little more of the maturity and polish of American Idol thrown in there.