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Rob Thomas gets back to solo work for a bit

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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Rob Thomas titled his latest road trip The Great Unknown 2015 Tour after his third solo album.

Problem is, the album isn't out yet.

The matchbox twenty frontman says he had "every intention" of having "The Great Unknown," his first solo album since 2009's "Cradlesong," out in time for the start of the tour this week, but he was only able to manage the first single, "Trust You."

"A long time ago I just picked a date and said, 'I'm going to be on the road, and if I'm not on the road at this point I'm going to kill myself,'" says Thomas, 43, who was also the co-writer and voice of Santana's Grammy Award-winning 1999 hit "Smooth." "I set a date to be on the road and then moved everything up. The idea now is to be out touring for this single to build up all the excitement for the (album), and then I can do all the traditional promo after that.

"That's one of the reasons why for this summer we picked more of a theater tour instead of doing the outdoor sheds and keep it in that vibe of, 'We're building something.'"

It's actually been 10 years since Thomas went solo in the first place, with 2005's platinum "...Something To Be." But between supporting matchbox twenty's 2012 album "North" and everything he's been up to in making "The Great Escape" and preparing for the tour, Thomas says it's not an anniversary he's focused on.

"Y'know, I've never not been busy," he says. "It's not like I ever sat around worrying about time passing. The only time it occurred to me was when we got together for rehearsals for (this tour) and we're playing a lot of the songs again from the last two solo records, and I'm realizing, 'Jesus, I haven't played these songs in forever it feels like.'

"There's a bit of an identity crisis, I think, that happens there. You're stepping into matchbox twenty world and you're stepping into 20 years of songs from matchbox, and then you step back into this (solo career), which is now over a decade of stuff going on here. So it really does kind of feel like two completely separate words."

And, Thomas adds, his matchbox twenty world will likely resume during 2016, when the band gathers again to commemorate the 20th anniversary of its multi-platinum debut, "Yourself or Someone Like You." "Unless somebody knows something I don't, we're still a band," Thomas notes. "We'll definitely always go out and tour and make music. We have too much fun not to."

Rob Thomas and Plain White T's

9 p.m. Friday, June 12.

The Colosseum at Caesars Windsor, 377 Riverside Drive East.

Tickets are $38-$77.

Call 800-991-7777 or visit www.caesars.com/caesars-windsor.

Web Site: www.caesars.com/caesars-windsor

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