It will be a triple helping of acoustic guitars and storytelling on February 22 at the Lobero Theatre, when Joshua Radin stops by on his promotional tour for his latest album, 2019’s “Here, Right Now.” The tour features the singer-songwriter playing in the round concerts accompanied by two other artists of similar ilk, singer-songwriters Ben Kweller and William Fitzsimmons. In an interview with the News-Press, Mr. Radin said this tour is unlike anything he’s done before. While he has toured before with Mr. Fitzsimmons, this marks his first with Mr. Kweller and the in the round performance style departs from his usual concert setup. This change and the company of Mr. Fitzsimmons and Mr. Kweller is meant to present Mr. Radin’s recent music in a different way.
“This was really just an idea I had recently about a different way to express the songs and stories I’ve been writing… Both William and Ben are such great songwriters so it seemed like a natural fit,” he said.
The concert will be a bare bones acoustic affair. As Mr. Radin said, “It’s three guys, three chairs, we each get an acoustic guitar.” He, Mr. Kweller, and Mr. Fitzsimmons are most likely to take the lead on their own respective songs, but Mr. Radin is open to whatever spontaneously happens onstage.
He stated, “We will most likely be playing our own songs, but who knows what will happen when we get out out there?”
One thing that is for sure is that Mr. Radin’s songs featured in the show will be a mixture of “Here, Right Now” songs and tracks from his back catalogue. His eighth release, “Here, Right Now” doesn’t demonstrate any deliberate change from Mr. Radin’s previous efforts. In fact, throughout his career Mr. Radin has never consciously tried to make his latest release different than his last.
“For me in the studio, it’s always just song by song. We listen to the song and throw things at the wall and see what sticks,” he said.
Of his latest batch of songs, the lead-off title track is his favorite. According to the singer, it was the first one that he wrote after an extensive writer’s block, so it was a relief to him that he could still write songs that he wanted to play for people. When writing songs, Mr. Radin tries to make himself as vulnerable as possible, as this tends to make him want to play his songs over and over. Though he always loved music and admired artists like Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Niel Young, Sam Cooke, and The Kinks, Mr. Radin never thought he could write music that people wanted to hear and didn’t start playing music until he turned 30 years old, very late for a professional musician. When he did fall into making music, he found that it was the greatest means of expression there is.
“Immediately after writing my first song “Winter” I felt that I had expressed myself more honestly in one song than I had in any creative endeavors from my past,” she said.
In addition to the album’s seven original tracks, “Here, Right Now” also includes covers of The Rolling Stones’ “She Smiled Sweetly” and Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down.” When it comes to covering material written by other artists, Mr. Radin always tries to change up the song’s production. In his view, retaining a song’s original sound for a cover is uninteresting and “like doing karaoke.” Mr. Radin’s ability to make the overall sound of his versions different from their original counterparts comes from his love of the original recordings and having heard them many times.
“Well, if I love a song, I’ve listened to it thousands of times. And after that many listens I start to hear different ways the songs might have been produced,” he said.
Despite starting late in game for a musician, Mr. Radin managed to become a favorite of one of Montecito’s most famous residents, Ellen Degeneres. In 2008, he even played at her wedding to Portia De Rossi. As Mr. Radin recalled, their first meeting occurred when they were sitting at the same table at a benefit. “American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest was also sitting at the same table and told Mr. Radin that the TV program had used some of his music. After Ms. Degeneres asked what kind of music he played, something happened that Mr. Radin called “serendipitous.” One of his songs played over the loudspeakers and Ms. Degeneres greatly enjoyed it. She then invited Mr. Radin to perform on her TV show.
Once Mr. Radin and his fellow singer-songwriters conclude their in the round performance, he hopes they have accomplished just one thing.
“I hope that when they leave the venue, they know much more about us than when they entered,” he said. Tickets for Joshua Radin’s February 22 concert can be purchased online at www.lobero.org. The show will start at 8 p.m. at the Lobero Theatre, located at 33 E Canon Perdido St.