Music » Critics' Picks

Matt Nathanson

8 p.m. Friday, October 6. Mississippi Nights (914 North First Street).

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It would be all too easy for Matt Nathanson to fall into the chasm of singer-songwriters whose sleeves are sopped with aortic blood. After all, his weeping melodies and minor-chord turns — dexterously churned out on a twelve-string guitar and accompanied by cello — are always punctuated by somber lyrics of heartbreak. Yet the integral thing that sets Nathanson apart from oh-so-serious counterparts such as Howie Day or David Gray is the way that Nathanson shatters his self-pity with self-deprecation. In fact, he infuses his live shows with humor; there's nary a woe-is-me ballad that isn't immediately followed by an anecdote that alleviates the reality of depression, Annie Hall-style. Nathanson's music is admirable, but his humility makes his show a must-see.

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