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SPB brings Gavin DeGraw and Craig Morgan to Ole Miss

 

This year, the Student Programming Board pulled out all the stops, bringing arguably the biggest star to grace the Grove stage: Gavin DeGraw.

DeGraw is currently riding a wave of success from his most recent album “Sweeter,” which debuted at No. 8 on the Billboard charts. His song “Not Over You,” the newest in his string of Top 40 hits, zoomed up the charts to No. 14.

Student Programming Board adviser and interim campus programming director Bradley Baker felt that this year’s choice would appeal to a very broad audience and would pull in a large crowd.

“We try to pick someone who appeals to the masses,” Baker said. “We’ve had a great reaction so far from students, alumni — pretty much everybody.”

DeGraw will be joined by Craig Morgan, country star, winner of the Songwriter Achievement Award from the Nashville Songwriters Association and star of the number one-rated Saturday morning hunting show, “Craig Morgan All Access Outdoors.” Morgan is not DeGraw’s usual opener, but SPB invited him to bring some variety to the show.

“The two have actually never played together before, but they’re on the same label,” Baker said. “It’s kind of neat to pull them both together, even though they’re two different genres. The students and alumni are really excited about the crossover between the Top 40 music and the country music.”

Beside his recent successful album, DeGraw has also been cutting a rug on TV’s “Dancing With the Stars,” surviving the heated competition for four weeks with his partner, Karina Smirnoff. Though DeGraw’s schedule may seem quite hectic, “Dancing With the Stars” wasn’t a factor in planning the spring concert.

“We actually found out that he was going to be on ‘Dancing With the Stars’ at the same time everyone else did,” Baker said. “I happened to catch (the ‘Dancing With the Stars’ commercial). It’s neat because it lets us see what kind of a person he is behind the scenes.”

Though it may seem like DeGraw might have to cancel the show for a dance-related emergency, Baker is sure that he’ll show.

“People ask me ‘What if he makes it further in the show? He practices five days a week; can he fit this in his schedule?’” Baker said. “It’s going to work itself out. We haven’t had any problems yet.”

The crowd for the spring concert grows every year, and Baker expects this year to be no different.

“A few years ago, I thought Zac Brown Band and Soulja Boy in the Grove was the largest crowd we’ve ever had,” Baker said. “We had Blues Traveler the next year, and that was a huge crowd. Last year we had Goo Goo Dolls, and it was even bigger. It’s hard to estimate because of how the Grove is shaped, but I’d say that anywhere from 5,000-7,000 people are going to show up.”