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Matt Nathanson sings hIS "Fangs" into his new album
Matt Nathanson is not too proud to steal a good idea.
For his current tour -- a solo acoustic outing to promote his just-released 10th album "Show Me Your Fangs" -- the Massachusetts-born singer-songwriter is playing deep tracks from his catalog, choosing them each night by virtue of a Wheel of Fortune comprised of titles. It's a device Elvis Costello deployed during the 80s, and Nathanson says it allows him to make his biggest fans happy.
"People get bent if they don't get to hear songs from my catalog, if they don't hear the songs they want to hear," explains Nathanson, 42, who had fans vote on songs to include on the wheel via social media. "So there's five or six places in the show the wheel gets spun, and that way they get to hear some of those songs."
The wheel adds a new wrinkle for Nathanson's return to a more intimate setting, which he says was necessary after playing summer amphitheaters with Gavin DeGraw in 2014 and Train and the Fray earlier this year.
"Those are pretty fun but limited in the scope of what you can do," Nathanson says. "It's a lot of, 'How you doin' up there? You good? What's going on on the lawn?!' I was missing playing song acoustic and telling really long stories with lots of F-bombs in them. So it's nice to get back to it this time around."
He says it's also been nice to see that the new songs work in that setting. "Show Your Fangs" is Nathanson's most extensively produced album yet, with many songs written to pre-arranged musical tracks, experimenting with a variety of sounds and moods. But, he says, stripping the songs down to just him and his guitar has been easy -- and illuminating.
"It's been super rad to realize that playing these songs acoustic, they jsut feel really different," Nathanson says. "They feel way less folky. They have an acoustic thing happening, but it feels really futuristic, in a cool way.
"I never used to be able to write like that, and I've always been dying to. To write the songs like I did for (the album) and then to play them just on guitar again is, like, a whole new thing. They still have some of the melodic quality they have on the album, so it sounds like future music in a really cool way."
Sunday, Oct. 4. Doors open at 8 p.m.
The Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale.
Tickets are $32.75.
Call 248-544-3030 or visit www.themagicbag.com.
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