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Andrew McMahon learning to play nicely with others

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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Andrew McMahon has been a songwriter, and a successful one, for many years after logging tenures in two popular bands -- Something Corporate and Jack's Mannequin.

But McMahon feels that he's entered a new kind of composing realm with his latest entity, Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness, for which he collaborated for hitmaking co-writers such as Kevin Griffin and Sam Hollander, as well as co-producers Mike Viola and James Flanningan.

"There was a lot of my career where I was really scared about getting in a room with people," confesses McMahon, 31, who's currently part of "Somebody Told Me: A Night of Songs and Stories" with some of his peers that plays Monday, Feb. 9, at The Ark in Ann Arbor. "You worry, 'Is it going to compromise my vision? Is it gonna feel less like I want?'

"But as I got older, I started to think, 'Wow, why would you not take the opportunity to surround yourself with people who have been doing this as many years as you have and can give you a new perspective and teach you new tracks and ways to get to a great song. That's been one of the biggest parts of my evolution as an artist has been getting out of my own way enough to say, 'Let's see what other people bring to the party.' "

And even though the "Wilderness" album is still fresh -- it was released in October -- McMahon says he's being courted to write for other artists' projects and plans to keep exploring the new vistas he's opened.

"I get calls certainly from time to time from different people -- a lot from emerging artists and bands that have recently been signed and have followed my career and are looking for songs," he says. "I did a lot more of that leading up to this record; that set the stage for this album.

"But there was a point last year where I had to kind of close that line and say, 'Now this is for me and I'm gonna make a record for myself.' I reckon once I have a little bit of down time from promoting this album I'll get back to that."

Somebody Told Me: A Night of Songs and Stories with Andrew McMahon, Brett Dennen, Glen Phillips and Jonathan Klingham

8 p.m. Monday, Feb. 9.

The Ark, 316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor.

Tickets are $40-$125.

Call 734-761-1818 or visit www.theark.org.

Web Site: www.theark.org

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