Those attending Matt Nathanson’s concert might expect a sound that has been categorized with the modern acoustic of artists such as Jason Mraz and Howie Day. But, Nathanson said that because his music and lyrics are so personal to him, his style is inherently different. He contrasted his songs by classifying his music as an aggressive acoustic. “Lyrics are the most important part of the songs, and so I try to focus on that,” Nathanson said.

When Nathanson listens to some of his favorite lyricists such as Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, he said he attempts to see how they are expressing their thoughts through music. “It’s more just digesting and being kind of blown away – Hopefully it is becoming part of who you are,” he said.

Signing with major label Universal for his latest, Beneath These Fireworks, he’s slowly been building a fan base. Nathanson said each release is a vast learning experience, and rather than expecting or desiring a breakthrough album, he is focusing on making the best record he can. He said he admires bands that can completely alter their set list and still captivate their audiences, and he hopes that during his musical maturation he can reach this depth.

For his current work-in-progress, Nathanson dropped his newly acquired Universal label to focus on the important details. He said his music parallels his constant transformations and that after five albums he has to find new ways of expressing his feelings and look deeper in himself. “The lyrics for the next record are taking their time because I’m at a certain time in my life where I’m trying to write differently. Lyrically I’m trying to figure out new stuff – about myself,” he said.

“I love that people come to shows, and I don’t want them to stop coming, but I don’t want to be a slave to the concept of the acoustic guitar. And so I’ve just been writing what’s happening inside me and hope that people dig it. It’s funny ’cause it is all me, and so if they like the older stuff they will like this stuff, in theory, because its pretty much all a natural progression for me,” Nathanson said.

In addition to a method for personal growth, Nathanson enjoys performing music and is known for his personal interactions with audiences. He said this began in his junior high performances in front of his friends, whose concerns were not about musical aspirations but rather about having fun. He confessed the lack of talent and Def Leppard influences of his sixth grade band entitled One Way Out. “We used to do, like, Police covers and U2 covers. We did that for a long time of terribleness, and then we blossomed into writing our own really bad songs,” he added.

The concert this evening at the Blind Pig will be a chance to see a rising musician. It’s also an opportunity to hear that aggressive acoustic genre that is increasingly addicting for so many college kids who swoon at the vague mention of John Mayer. The concert setting is where Nathanson says he thrives, and he welcomes his growing popularity, especially at college campuses. “I don’t know,” he said. “I just feel relaxed on stage as I’m communicating with the crowd, and it just comes second nature to me.”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.