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Ultravox's Midge Ure goes it alone on latest tour

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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With Ultravox and on his solo albums, Midge Ure makes big, lush, often heavily synthesized music that hardly seems like fare for a one-man acoustic concert.

But that's what the Scottish singer, songwriter, musician and producer is doing now, bringing his solo show to North America -- and on Thursday, March 5, to the Magic Bag in Ferndale -- as he promotes last year's "Fragile," his first solo album of new material in 13 years.

"I don't know anyone who writes like me," says Ure, 61. "Ever since I bought and built my first studio back in the early 80s, I've used the studio as a writing tool, so all the atmospheres and textures and arrangements and lyrics come together at the same time. It's a long slow process.

"So when I try to do a acoustic versions of those songs, I have to be very selective about what I play and basically desconstruct what I built. These aren't songs that I just rattled off on the guitar, like Elvis Costello or somebody and then built the arrangements. It's a big job."

Doing that, Ure says, makes the songs "more poignant" for him -- and, it seems, for his audiences as well.

"The interesting thing I find is people are coming up to me and say, 'I've heard the lyrics fir the first time. I didn't know you can sing,' " Ure recalls with a laugh. "I'm like, 'What do you think I've been doing for the last 40 years?!' But I think that's great. It's fantastic."

Another part of Ure's legacy is "Do They Know It's Christmas?," the all-star Band Aid song for famine relief that he co-wrote with Bob Geldof and produced in 1984. They recorded a 30th anniversary version of it last fall with contemporary British music stars, for which Ure served as executive producer.

"It was very difficult, like looking back at the same old picture and repainting the same thing, rebuilding the same house," he explains. "I thought the new generation did a great job, but it's a bit of a pity we're still doing the same old song. It would've been lovely over the last 30 years for some new writers to step up and say, 'I've written something' and give it to the Band Aid Trust.

"We did have some backlash; People were saying, 'Why are we listening to the same old s*** again?' Well, that's the only s*** that generates income for the cause -- until someone steps up and gives us something new, so hopefully that will happen one day."

Midge Ure

Thursday, March 5. Doors open at 8 p.m.

The Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale.

Tickets are $18.

Call 248-544-3030 or visit www.themagicbag.com.

Web Site: www.themagicbag.com

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