Rob Thomas set to rock Boston on heels of new album

By Kate MacDonald

Tonight, Rob Thomas will take the stage at the Citi Performing Arts Center in Boston to sing songs from his new album “Cradlesong.” Audience members can expect to hear hits from his multi-platinum debut “…Something to Be,” as well as Matchbox 20 hits, the band from which Thomas got his fame. Thomas is set to perform after this summer’s breakout band One Republic opens the show at 7:30 p.m.

“Cradlesong” is something new for Thomas and Matchbox 20 fans, who may be used to hearing powerful rock anthems. In an interview, Thomas admitted that artists “go through different phases when you’re writing; it took a different turn, and I just followed it, too,” giving reference to the album’s use of rhythms and beats from South America and Africa. On his official website, he goes so far as to refer to “Cradlesong” as a “musical hybrid.” This new take, however, was not seen in the first two singles from the album, “Her Diamonds” and “Someday,” both of which have been well received.

“Her Diamonds,” which hit airwaves last summer, has been attributed to Rob Thomas’ experience dealing with his wife Marisol’s longtime battle against lupus. Thomas, a known family man, co-wrote every song on the album. He told Entertainment Weekly that many of the songs on “Cradlesong” are about being in troubled relationships, which seems to be a staple in his solo advances as well as megahits from Matchbox 20.                     Many of Matchbox 20’s singles were written by Thomas. The band, which is still intact today despite Thomas’s budding solo career, found its origins in Orlando 15 years ago. Following a band hiatus after rhythmic guitarist Adam Gaynor’s departure from the group in the winter of 2005, Thomas spotted his chance to become a true singer-songwriter. On his website Thomas says, “Over the years, the other guys have evolved as writers. Now that I have a solo outlet, we can be more creative together; we can be a band and really explore what Matchbox can become – the best of what it can be – without my ego as a songwriter getting in the way.”

“Cradlesong,” which was released June 30, 2009, debuted after a 2007 Matchbox 20 reunion album “Exile on Mainstream,” which garnered good reviews. This new album, originally slated for a May release, was recorded and mixed in a Los Angles studio. The delay can be attributed to a direction reversal, as the album was supposed to be a reworking of Paul Simon’s “The Rhythm of the Saints.”

The tour, which has no official name, began in Hollywood, Fla., giving homage to Thomas’s roots, on Sept. 23 and ends Friday in New York City before it picks up again for a few smaller venues in the beginning of December. Boston fans will be rejoicing, since Rob Thomas’s “Something to Be Tour” did not hit this city last time around.

Music, and all that encompasses it, is something that seems to come naturally to Thomas. To everyone in the crowd in Boston this evening, it will make sense as well.

Kate MacDonald can be reached at [email protected].