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The Blue & Gray Press | November 20, 2017

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Nathanson Tears Up Great Hall

BY TRICIA CALLAHAN

Last Friday at 7 p.m. doors opened for the Matt Nathanson concert in Great Hall.

While people began piling in, I was tucked away in a side room waiting to interview Nathanson. The roomed smelled organic, with grapes, random mayo packets, and mixed nuts set up on a table.

“Want a nut?” asked Nathanson pointing the container toward me. Happily, I obliged.

He was wearing  a trucker hat with a skateboarding beaver which completely matched his off-beat sense of humor. I noticed lyrics scribbled on his hand.

“I was inspired by Sebastian Bach while driving,” he said, noticing my interest in the scribbles.

Nathanson is the kind of guy that says “Getting to sing with the Indigo Girls” was a career highlight.

When Jamie Kenney, keyboard player for opening act Erin McCarley, realized he was sitting next to an “Indigo Girls” fan, the two musicians ranted for about 5 minutes and concluded that they would one day “hold hands at an Indigo Girls concert.

The video for Nathanson’s hit song “Come on get higher” is getting huge play on VH1.

“I’ll tell you the cool thing about that music video is I got to make out with a model,” he said, only half joking.

I walked into the crowd and eventually Erin McCarley took the stage. Her voice was pure and her sound reminded me of a band called The Frames. With simple songs about heartbreak she seemed really vulnerable; wiping her palms against her pants in-between each song while complaining about writing one song on the set list twice.
The highlight was her awesome rendition of Suzanne Vega’s “Tom’s Diner” while her Kennedy beat-boxed the background music.

After McCarley came the night’s highlight act and Nathanson did not hold back any of the personality I saw prior to the show.

He claimed his first song was about Fredericksburg and later on when he said another song was inspired by a bear, it became apparent that he was joking.

His arm bounced across the strings from the top to the bottom of the guitar while his body rocked back and forth proving that this 35-year-old musician was full of boundless energy.

After strumming the first note of his song “Still,” a group of girls’ started wailing and he stopped playing to ask if someone in the audience was getting mauled by a wolverine.

After he stopped the song twice, the girls figured out that unless they stopped screaming, the song wasn’t going to start. There was good reasoning behind their high-pitched screams; it was one of the most romantic numbers played that night. Matt swears it was inspired by an episode of “Gossip Girl.”

Maybe everyone didn’t walk out of the show feeling like they had  “just saw the Stones” like Nathanson  said he hoped for before the show; but it seemed like everyone was pretty damn happy.