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Gavin Degraw at the National 

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Gavin Degraw is likeable to a degree that's almost frustrating. With a noticeably soulful swagger on the piano and the kind of vocal delivery that extends his wounded, feel-good vibe, you get the feeling the guy never gets to put out the records he wants, as though he's consistently forced to deliver some slick, over-produced collection of songs his label believed would provide the highest profitability. Even with the success that came with songs such as “I Don't Want to Be” and “Chariot” (the latter still ranking as one of my all-time favorite pop songs), you just got the feeling that when Degraw rereleased his debut with a stripped-down version of his compositions, he was presenting his music with the type of realism he originally wanted. Acting out again with the release of his latest album, “Free,” a bare-bones follow-up to last year's overworked sophomore effort, Degraw shows us who he really is at the National on Tuesday, April 28, at 7 p.m. $21. 708 E. Broad St., 612-1900 or www.thenationalva.com. — Mike Hilleary
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