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The new fall sound: sun dresses and floppy hats
by Sarah Cooper
Sep 23, 2009 | 823 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Courtesy photo - 
In 2007, Colbie Calliat made a splash by posting her music to her MySpace page. Since being discovered, she has worked with Lifehouse, the Goo Goo Dolls, Jason Mraz and other artists. She plays Friday night at the Grand Sierra Resort.
Courtesy photo - In 2007, Colbie Calliat made a splash by posting her music to her MySpace page. Since being discovered, she has worked with Lifehouse, the Goo Goo Dolls, Jason Mraz and other artists. She plays Friday night at the Grand Sierra Resort.
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Colbie Caillat can convince you that her tan is real. In fact, it is hard to listen to the coffee house-soul-meets California-pop sensation without imagining a laid-back beach bonfire after a long day of stress-free sunbathing beneath a Malibu breeze.

The woman who brought back sundress-and-floppy-hat pop will be taking the Grand Sierra Resort’s Grand Theater stage at 8 p.m. Friday with her guitar, honey-toned voice and possibly her signature orchid tucked behind her ear.

Caillat got her start on the beaches of her hometown in Malibu, Calif., where her father co-produced Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk” and “Rumors” albums. While the muti-platinum pros were singing around the studio, the little California girl was skipping around her home and singing her own tunes. While Fleetwood Mac took the limelight, Caillat kept stringing her own tunes together on her guitar. Toes in the sand and mind on the sunset, the girl and her guitar mused on the first blush of love or the magic of a moment.

On the advice of a few friends, Caillat put her songs on her MySpace page. It wasn’t long before people noticed.

Now labeled as the “MySpace Phenom,” Caillat was proclaimed by the site to be its most popular unsigned artist at the time of her first postings.

Her debut single was the whimsical “Bubbly,” which peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 2 on the Pop 100.

The simple sweetness of Caillat’s voice flowed into Universal Republic’s recording studios in 2007 and record sales followed. Caillat released “CoCo” on Universal Republic’s label in July 2007, debuting at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 and selling 51,000 copies in the first week. The album was later certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.

What followed were a few tours with Lifehouse and the Goo Goo Dolls, collaborations with Jason Mraz, an artist akin to Caillat, and a tidal wave of original writing. Caillat released her sophomore effort a few weeks ago, on Aug. 29. “Breakthrough,” again a release from Universal Republic, has already put out one single that has spread across the airwaves. “Fallin’ for you” debuted at No. 12 and was Caillat’s highest debut ever on the Billboard Hot 100.

While the singles became big hits for Caillat, the unassuming pop star’s laid-back style also drew some criticisms from reviewers who wanted a little jolt to their musical jaunts.

“Caillat has a fine voice — clear and ringing, with a hint of a rasp — and she can write hooks,” wrote Jody Rosen of Rolling Stone magazine in an Aug. 24 review. “But the simpering puppy love grows wearying over 12 tracks, especially because Caillat fails to convince as a romantic heroine. She sounds too goofy — too bubbly and tingly — to be lovelorn.”

Chuck Arnold, of People magazine, said in the August issue: “Although the mid tempo tracks start to blend together, this California girl keeps the sun-kissed sounds coming.”

Rolling Stone reviewer Caryn Ganz encapsulated the singer’s relaxed appeal.

“In a landscape populated by lawless and unrehab-able female pop stars, it’s easy to see the Everygal appeal of this twenty-two-year-old MySpace sensation,” Ganz said in an August 2007 review. “Caillat sings about letting her feelings show on a mellow acoustic-guitar-and-piano song with a soulful swing, but over a dozen bland, sunny tunes, it’s hard to pin her down. Her songs are entirely inoffensive — that’s probably why she rocketed to No. 1 on the iTunes chart.”

A few tickets are still available for Friday’s show and will cost about $25. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Grand Sierra box office at (800) 648-3568.

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