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Nickelback, Vince Gill Help Out on Diverse Daughtry CD

Album Leave This Town
Due Out July 14
Producer Howard Benson

Matt Diehl Jul 21, 2009

“Crank it up!” Chris Daughtry screams, as producer Howard Benson cues up ”˜You Don’t Belong,’ a Linkin Park-style headbanger that opens the singer’s second album, Leave This Town. Today, Daughtry and his namesake group ”“ drummer Joey Barnes, guitarist Brian Craddock, bassist Josh Paul and guitarist Josh Steely ”“ are sequencing the set at Benson’s suburban-LA studio. “The rock tunes on this record are rock tunes,” Daughtry, 29, says. “That’s because you’re hearing an actual band. My first album, I had to use session guys, but on this one, the band stepped up.”

For the follow-up to his smash debut ”“ 2006’s Daughtry sold more than 4 million copies ”“ the 2006 American Idol fourth-place finisher insisted on writing or co-writing every track, either with band cohorts or big names like Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger. One of the two songs Kroeger worked on is ”˜Life After You,’ an acoustic-driven ballad; it also features Daughtry’s first-ever drug reference. “That’s a Chad line,” says Daughtry of the lyric “I must’ve been high.” “It means ”˜high on life’”¦ and other things!”

The band worked up around 70 songs on the road and then spent a summer honing the material before hitting the studio last October for six months of recording. The surprisingly diverse results include everything from the clubby ”˜Supernatural’ to the fiddle-driven Vince Gill duet ”˜Tennessee Line.’ “Vince told me all I owe him is beer and pizza,” Daughtry says of the guest spot.

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Still, a Daughtry set wouldn’t be complete without a fistful of power ballads. “People love us for melodic hooks,” he says. “Some of these are really going to pull on the heartstrings.” One such candidate is ”˜Call Your Name,’ an anthem reminiscent of ”˜November Rain,’ complete with a stirring key change, falsetto vocal runs and an explosive Slash-style guitar climax. “It’s different from anything I’ve ever done,” Daughtry says. “It has to be the last song. There’s no going back after that.”