Monday, March 22, 2010

Featured New Artist of the Month: Danny Gokey

Danny Gokey finished third on American Idol last year (Season 8). He was a favorite from the beginning of the season with his tender raspy vocals and heart-wrenching story. Danny's wife, Sophia, died after having routine heart surgery just a month before Danny's audition. Because of this, Danny was known as the contestant with the tragedy. With the release of his debut album, My Best Days, last week, Danny is letting the world know that his "best days are ahead."

On American Idol, Danny proved to be a versatile and creative artist, often taking risks with his song choices. His shining moment, however, was when he sang "What Hurts the Most" by Rascall Flatts during country music week. Randy Travis, the mentor for country week, suggested that Danny take the country route after Idol because of his storytelling capabilities. Danny always portrays great emotion and sincerity on stage, which is a valued quality in country singers. So, that's exactly what Danny did.

Danny's album debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 chart last week. Many Idol albums fail from the start, but My Best Days is one of my favorite Idol albums. In fact, I'd rank it among debut albums by Carrie Underwood and Kris Allen as far as favorites go.

1. My Best Days Are Ahead of Me
2. Like That's a Bad Thing
3. I Still Believe
4. Tiny Life
5. Get Away
6. It's Only
7. Life On Ya
8. Crazy Not To
9. Be Somebody
10. I Will Not Say Goodbye

Danny's first single, "My Best Days Are Ahead of Me", has been climbing the charts for about two months now. He recently performed it on American Idol as well. I love this song because it's the message of Danny's life. He went through a terrible tragedy, but he's also living a great adventure. It's a beautiful message for everyone. "I don't get lost in the past or get stuck in some sad memory. My best days are ahead of me."

This is a pure contemporary country album. With that, there are several upbeat fun songs like "Life On Ya" and "Get Away." There are also some wonderful ballads like "Tiny Life" and "Crazy Not To."

My favorite song on the album is the final track, "I Will Not Say Goodbye." This song portrays the opposite end of Danny's life message from "My Best Days Are Ahead of Me." This song is about pain and loss. I think the contrast between the first and last tracks is beautiful. Danny is moving on in his life journey, but he will never forget Sophia and their journey together. "I don't want to feel better. I don't want to not remember. I will laugh, I will cry, shake my fist at the sky, but I will not say goodbye."

It is evident that Danny worked very hard on this album, choosing the right songs for him and taking time for creativity. He's got a great future ahead of him. Be sure to pick up his album!

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