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Sarah McLachlan builds a new kind of "Mystery" with orchestra

for Journal Register Newspapers

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Sarah McLachlan has recorded her share of classic songs since 1988 -- "Building a Mystery," "Adia" and "Angel" among them. Now she's doing those songs in a classical setting.

The Canadian songstress' summer tour is her first ever accompanied by an orchestra, inspired by four symphony shows she performed last year. "It was so much fun and so thrilling to have that power behind me, I said, 'I've got to do this next summer," says McLachlan, 44. "I've been playing these songs for years -- 15, 20-plus year. It's such a great, great way to reinvent them for myself and to hear the songs with a whole new vibe attached.

"The only thing I can think of to describe it is do you remember the very first time you put your Sony Walkman on and played your favorite CD or tape? You walked down the street and felt like you were in a movie or something. That's how this feels to me."

McLachlan has worked up a selection of her favorites to play with the orchestras as well as surprises, such as slowing down the uptempo "Sweet Surrender." There will not, however, be any new material; McLachlan, whose 2010 album "Laws of Illusion" was her first of new material in seven years, says she's progressing slowly on its follow-up as well, partly due to the responsibilities of raising two children and running her Sarah McLachlan School of Music in Vancouver.

"I've been in kind of a slum with (songwriting)," she says. "I spent a couple months concertedly trying to write this winter, but nothing was satisfying for me. I had some good moments, but I got to a point where I thought my head would explode if I didn't put it away.

"Putting so much pressure on myself to write never works. There's only so far you can push, and then you have to let it go for awhile. I have had some good moments, a couple little breakthroughs with lyrical things. Right now I'm focusing on the tour, and then I'll come back, hopefully refreshed, and see if I can take it farther."

Sarah McLachlan and Whitehorse perform at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, July 1, at the Meadow Brook Music Festival on the Oakland University campus in Rochester Hills. Tickets are $49.50 and $39.50 pavilion, $25 lawn. Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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