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Interview:
Crowdfunded album has Matthew Sweet feeling the heat
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

» See more SOUND CHECK

Matthew Sweet says he feels "a lot more pressure" making his upcoming album. And that isn't just because of the music.

Sweet is funding the project -- his first set of original material since 2011's "Modern Art" -- via Kickstarter, and because of that he has to come up with a variety of perks for pledgers. The campaign, which he launched last summer, has been successful, but coming up with the goods has taken longer than the Nebraska-based rock singer and songwriter has expected.

"I feel a lot more pressure now because I'm late," Sweet, 50, acknowledges by phone from his home in Omaha. "I feel bad everybody's waiting so long. They're the ones that funded it. But I also think they're understanding about it. They're like, 'Do your thing...'

"If anything, because of the way we did it and people putting their money into it up front, I'm taking the time to do a lot of good songs and do a really good effort. I think it'll be worth it when it comes out" -- which Sweet hopes will be before the end of this year.

Meanwhile, Sweet is enjoying life back in his native Nebraska, where he and his wife Lisa returned after spending 27 years in Los Angeles. The couple thought about moving to Hawaii or further north in California, but pragmatics and the pull of family led them back to the Midwest.

"It feels very grounded," says Sweet, who was born ad raised in Lincoln and built a home studio to allow him to write and record in Omaha. "It's really solid. We both have family back here, and we found a great place that we fell in love with. There's sibling and nieces and nephews, so I'm kinda getting to know them all better.

"I tend to be an isolated person -- my wife as well. We're just not super social people. So we would never see anyone if we didn't have to, but here we're exposed to so much more people and friends and family, and that's good for us."

And, Sweet is happy to report, he hasn't had to face much hubub about the return of the prodigal rock star to his roots.

"There's a little bit of that, but not much," says Sweet, who along with his wife served as consultants for the 2014 Tim Burton film "Big Eyes" about painter Margaret Keane, whose work he collected for years. "As I've gotten older I've been much more in touch with everybody in the family, and all our relations are pretty normalized.

"And, honestly, I was never really super-popular here, so it isn't very charged in that way, like I come home and I'm this giant star. There's just a little bit of weirdness, but not too much. Nothing I can't live with, at least."

Matthew Sweet and the Orange Peels

Thursday, July 16. Doors open at 8 p.m.

The Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale.

Tickets are $20.

Call 248-540-3030 or visit www.themagicbag.com.

Web Site: www.themagicbag.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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