Triangle Arts and Entertainment – News and Reviews Theatre Dance Music Arts

ROB THOMAS With Special Guest One Republic & Carolina Liar – Sept. 28

Rob Thomas

Rob Thomas

With Special Guest One Republic & Carolina Liar

Monday · September 28 · 6 p.m.

Tickets On Sale Friday, July 17 at 10 a.m.

~ $36/Lawn/Advance, $46/Lawn/Day of Show, $66/Reserved & Table Seats

Tickets can be purchased at Booth Amphitheatre  (Tuesday- Friday, Noon – 6 p.m. & Saturday from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.) or any Ticketmaster Outlet, or charge-by-phone at 1-800-745-3000.

For complete concert information go to or call 919-462-2025.


May 19, 2009

“I don’t want to make the same record over and over again. I not only want to represent lyrically where I’m at as a person today, but stylistically I want to represent the time that I’m in. I’m 37, which is different than 30, and which is different than 25. It’s a much different time in my life and I wanted the new record to reflect that. cradlesong doesn’t sound like anything I’ve done before, and I think that’s important.”

Given Rob Thomas’s stature as one of modern music’s most compelling and commercially successful artists for well over a decade – between Matchbox Twenty, his solo work, and his various collaborations with iconic artists like Santana and Mick Jagger, his tally now stands at more than 80 million albums sold worldwide – it’s easy to let the charts and numbers overshadow the essential reason he’s come so far in the first place. As he says with typical understatement, “I’m a guy who hears songs in his head, and I have to write them down, and I have to get them out. I’m just lucky enough that I can make it my life’s work.”

Arguably the most accomplished singer/songwriter of his generation, for Rob it all comes back to the creative source. “I have to separate the idea of what I do for a living versus what I do. Songwriting is the only thing that makes sense to me. Years of doing it helps, but the truth is that the reason you do it for years is because it’s what you do. It’s the only thing that I have that kind of shorthand on… I don’t know cars, I don’t know sports, and I’m not a math whiz. This is something that I look at and it just makes sense to me.”

Making sense of his musical inspiration is what Rob Thomas does at an exceptionally high level. “It’s a two-part process – there’s inspiration and craft. The inspiration is the part that’s completely magical and you have no responsibility over. The inspiration is when you’re sitting in your car or in a room and you hear a melody. You love it, it sounds great, and then you realize that it doesn’t exist yet in the world, that it’s a melody you just came up with. That’s a process that you can’t be responsible for. The minute you start to claim ownership of it, you lose it. To paraphrase a quote from Quincy Jones, ‘the moment that success leads you to say, “I’ll take it from here, God,” that’s when God walks out of the room.’”

And as for the craft? “You have those moments when you are in full service of the feeling and you carry it as far as it takes you. And when that feeling stops, you put it away and at some point you have to go back and work on it. You say, ‘OK, this is where the inspiration took me, now what was it I was trying to say, where was it I was going? It’s this unbelievable process that when you’re done with it, every time you do it, for a second you feel like the most unbelievably creative person in the world, and then it goes away and you feel like you’re never going to do it again… and you have to start all over again. So you keep trying to get that feel, that high off of creating, that place that carries you from a blank page where nothing existed to a song that people are singing back to you at Madison Square Garden, if you’re lucky. That’s where the magic is.”

Which brings us to the latest magical collection of Thomas-crafted inspiration – his second solo album, cradlesong. It follows his 2005 multi-platinum solo debut, “…SOMETHING TO BE,” which made history as the first album by a male artist from a rock or pop group to debut at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 since the chart was launched 50 years earlier. The album earned a pair of Grammy nominations and spawned a string of hit singles, including the smash “Lonely No More” – which was #1 in 15 countries, “This Is How A Heart Breaks,” “Ever The Same,” and “Streetcorner Symphony.”

cradlesong, with Matt Serletic again in the producer’s chair, was forged in a creatively charged atmosphere. “I built a studio in my basement, so a lot of these songs started with a drum beat,” Thomas says. “Up until this point in my life, everything had been written on acoustic guitar or piano, and I’d have to wait until I got into the studio and hear musicians get on it. Now I could have a good drum groove, get some guitars going, and then from that, Matt could hear it closer to how I was hearing the song.”

“I like musical hybrids,” says Thomas about the direction of cradlesong. “Like, ‘What would it sound like if we took Prince’s drummer and mixed him with really amazing Nashville players?’ I like to take everyone just left of their comfort zone and record it.” One early point of reference was Paul Simon’s seminal “RHYTHM OF THE SAINTS.” “I wanted to find a new way to do something that felt like it had an urgency to the groove.”

The result is a percussive rock record that pulses with passion and energy. Vibrant guitars collide on songs such as “Fire on the Mountain” and the power pop gem “Give Me The Meltdown,” horns bolster the bouncy “Wonderful,” while electronic programming propels the dynamic “Real World ’09.” The title track is the sole ballad on an otherwise up-tempo set. “’Cradlesong’ is in there because it’s really a mellow tune,” says Thomas. “It’s kind of a ‘calm down, everything is going to be all right’ song.”

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