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Daughtry brings cadre of hits to Palace Theatre

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Daughtry

Chris Daughtry has a lot of reasons lately to smile.

The rock singer and the band that carries his name recently finished studio work on their fifth album, the first since “Baptized” in 2013. The group’s other four albums combined for sales of more than 8 million copies in the United States and all reached the Billboard Top 10 list.

Daughtry just kicked off a two-month tour last week in Fort Lauderdale that will stop March 20 at the Palace Theatre in Greensburg.

More than a decade after his solo debut and fourth-place finish on the fifth season of “American Idol,” he has forgiven judge Simon Cowell for his critical remarks on the show. Daughtry says he looks at his elimination from the reality show differently in hindsight.

“It’s everybody’s goal to impress the judges, but looking back, I was so nervous, so stiff and scared out of my mind,” he says on a phone call from Tampa, Fla., where the band was rehearsing for the new tour. “If anything, he made me work harder.”

While he finds it difficult to look back at his early auditions, the singer-songwriter says “being on the road made me more comfortable performing in my skin.”

Daughtry followers will have to wait a while to hear the band’s new music from the yet-untitled album, but they’ll at least get a sampling at the concerts.

“We’ll be playing from all five albums, including our personal favorites,” the band leader says. “We’re in the post-production phase of the album, so hopefully it will be out in May or so, sometime in the spring.”

He’s reluctant to admit that the new album is their best one yet, noting that “every artist says that.” He does point out that they’ve grown as a band, becoming more mature as writers and musicians, and “it’s tough for any rock band these days to stay out there for more than a couple records. We’re very fortunate. It’s been more than 10 years since we made our first record and we’re still playing,”

As for his own favorite song among his cadre of hits, he says he’d have to place “September’ at the top of his list and adds that a lot of his favorites never made the radio, such as “Baptized,” “Wild Heart” and other songs with more personal meaning to him.

After their current tour winds down in April, Daughtry has no concrete plans yet but says the band will go back out on the road sometime in the summer.

He also leaves the door open for future collaborations with other musicians, having worked with Carlos Santana, Vince Gill and Timbaland — and he doesn’t rule out future acting gigs, having taken on the role of Judas Iscariot for a 2016 live TV performance of “The Passion.”

“After the spring tour, I’d like to take a break and figure out our next move,” he says. “Like any artists, we always want to push ourselves and not become complacent. We’re constantly trying to reach more people, be seen and heard. That’s our mission now.”

Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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