Josh Radin wrote the majority of songs for his sixth album, "Onward and Sideways," with an explicit purpose.
"It's wooing music," says the Cleveland-born singer-songwriter, who performs Saturday, Feb. 14, at the Crofoot Ballroom. "It's an old school, wooing love letter to this lovely woman I've been friends with for about six years and finally decided to tell her how I felt. I just kept writing her love songs until she fell in love with me.
"It was really good motivation rather than just writing songs for songs sake. And it was nice to be able to write an album that's not about falling OUT of love, like a lot of my other stuff."
Radin, 40, actually wrote most of the album's material in Sweden, where the woman in question lived at the time (she's since relocated to the U.S. and is traveling on the road with him). "When I finally told her how I felt, she was like, 'What, are we gonna do a long-distance thing between Los Angeles and Stockholm?' " Radin recalls. "I had already decided to take a year off from doing anything but writing, so I flew out there.
"And she had a job, so she worked every day and I'd lay in bed with my guitar and try to come up with new songs, something new to play for her when she came home from work every day. The picture of me on the album cover is actually one she took in that bed where I pretty much wrote the whole album."
The lone exception on "Onward and Sideways" is "Beautiful Day," which hails from Radin's previous album, 2013's "Wax Wings," and which he re-recorded as a due with friend and onetime touring partner Sheryl Crow after the song was licensed for a Subuaru commercial.
"We figured we should probably do a new version of the song so it would draw attention to the new album when the commercial runs," Radin explains. "I'm not a big radio artist, so if you've got a song in a car commercial running all the time, that's like your radio single, basically.
"So we said, 'Let's call Sheryl' and she said yes right away. I was in Stockholm at the time so she sang her vocals from a Skype session in her home studio in Nashville and she just nailed it right away. She's such a pro we didn't have to tell her anything. And I've always been a fan of her, musically, so it's great to have her be part of this.
Josh Radin, Rachael Yamagata and Cary Brothers
Saturday, Feb. 14. Doors open at 7 p.m.
The Crofoot Ballroom, 1 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac.
Tickets are $25.
Call (248) 858-9333 or visit www.thecrofoot.com.
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