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Live It Up

Lee DeWyze

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Album Review

Winner of the ninth season of American Idol, the season that will forever be remembered as Simon Cowell’s last, Lee DeWyze somehow eked out a victory against neo-hippie soulster Crystal Bowersox, charming with a smarmy shyness that never quite seemed to jibe with a guy who kicked around bars in the suburbs for the better part of a decade. Other Idol winners were journeymen in disguise — think cornball Taylor Hicks or well-coifed rocker David Cook — but DeWyze’s major-label debut, Live It Up, sounds like the work of a local band that was given a chance to run wild in a professional studio. 19 Recordings team their winner with an army of professionals led by Toby Gad and John Shanks but they don’t dictate the direction of the album; they shape DeWyze’s singsong strum-alongs and MOR pop into something resembling a triple-A chart hit, letting similarities to Jack Johnson, Jason Mraz, and John Mayer stand strong. DeWyze can wrangle a pleasant melody, particularly when he’s favoring sunswept SoCal folk-pop. When things are light and simple on Live It Up, DeWyze seems like himself.

Biography

Born: 02 April 1986 in Mount Prospect, IL

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Before winning the ninth season of American Idol, Lee DeWyze released two independent albums that introduced his mix of husky vocals and acoustic singer/songwriter fare. Working under the tutelage of Ministry guitarist Louis Svitek, who doubled as his producer and mentor, DeWyze made his solo debut with the release of 2007's So...
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Live It Up, Lee DeWyze
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