Nathanson says current music is truer reflection
Before he got married, Matt Nathanson had one true love — music.
“Really, I'm a slave to music,” Nathanson says. “Like, music is the only thing in my life that I've ever committed to. It's the only thing that's never let me down.”
So, it's a good thing that, as he continues his career, Nathanson feels he's getting closer to making the kind of music that truly reflects who he is as a songwriter and musician.
He will perform Aug. 20 at the Carnegie Library Music Hall in Munhall.
Nathanson says the biggest step he has taken toward capturing the most honest version of himself has come on his latest album, “The Last of the Great Pretenders.”
Heading into the record, Nathanson realized how he was perceived musically was out of line with how he saw himself.
“To me, there was this sort of soft, soothing thing that people were getting from my music,” he says. “I don't know what it was, but it was just this idea that I was easy listening on a certain level, and I don't listen to easy music. So, I didn't know why it was happening.”
Actually, one of the reasons for that image is fairly clear, and Nathanson recognizes it as well.
Seven studio albums into a career that began in the early 1990s, he had a hit single with “Come on Get Higher.” The spare, largely acoustic romantic ballad from the 2007 album “Some Made Hope” put him in the company of sensitive singer-songwriters like Jason Mraz, Howie Day or Matt Kearney. Nathanson says the success of that song influenced his music for a bit.
“I got validation, and it was like, ‘Oh, this is what you want?' ” he says. “It was not a conscious thing, but in looking back, I think that was how it went.
One step in correcting his course has involved beefing up his sound.
Yes, gentle ballads (“Sky High Honey,” “Heart Starts”) are still present on “The Last of the Great Pretenders.” But the album is as defined by songs that have considerably more heft, such as the edgy piano-based tune, “Earthquake Weather,” the hooky rockers “Annie's Always Waiting (For the Next One to Leave)” and “Birthday Girl.”
An equally big change came on the lyrical front, as Nathanson decided it was time to drop his guard and write music he felt was more honest and open.
“I found that the thread through all of the records that I loved, that changed my life ... the artists really kind of let it all hang out un-selfconsciously,” Nathanson says. “I felt like some of my records, or all of my records before, had a level of guardedness to them, mostly lyrically.
“I made sort of a concerted effort that if (a lyric) made me feel slightly uncomfortable or feel exposed, then I felt like that was the right answer,” he says.
Alan Sculley is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Kelly Clarkson to play First Niagara Pavilion on July 19
- Pittsburgh producer revives, re-airs an expanded ‘Motown 25 ’
- Pittsburgh Rock ’N Roll Legends Awards honors rock legends, locals
- Saxophonist Carter proves he’s up to any musical challenge
- Microtonal music festival goes off the beaten scale in Pittsburgh
- James Carter Organ Trio brings new energy, new metrics, new swagger
- PLS Trio seems like more voices on ‘East River’
- PSO’s Honeck coaxes orchestral brilliance in ballet themes