On tour

New material? Don't forget the old
By DEIRDRE FULTON  |  July 8, 2009

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Right about now, Aimee Mann is freaking out. "I always completely lose my mind before I go on tour," she says. It's hard to imagine Mann being frantic about anything. The honey-voiced singer-songwriter, who launched her career in Boston with 'Til Tuesday, achieved fame with her work on the Magnolia soundtrack, and is touring now to promote her latest solo album, @#%&*! Smilers (SuperEgo), sings slow and steady. On this latest effort, recorded largely live in the studio, she seems unruffled as ever by relationship woes, the sad tug of the open road, and the impossibility of quotidian life.

Take "31 Today," her straightforward take on growing older (the singer herself is 48): "I thought my life would be different somehow/I thought my life would be better by now/but it's not," she says, matter-of-factly. It's a sentiment that could be milked for its angst, but Mann treats it as many of us would: with resignation, bemusement, and even some appreciation of shared misery. It's one of her favorite songs on the album, which she describes as capturing some of "that great magic that musicians can have when they're all together and looking at each other." That magic will be on display at Stone Mountain Arts Center in Brownfield on July 19, when she combines, as she did on the record, acoustic guitar with the "unacoustic synthesizer sounds" of two keyboardists. (The sonic aesthetic of this album was inspired by early Cars records, among other things, she says.)

If you attend the show on the 19th, come prepared to hear new songs as well as old favorites. Mann is planning, on this tour, to take a lot of audience requests — she's gone as far as to print lyrics for most of her 90-song repertoire. And it's required a lot of personal review: "Almost always I don't remember how to play them — sometimes I don't even remember having written them."

  Topics: This Just In , Entertainment, Music, Singer Songwriters,  More more >
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