Dan Wilson at Cedar Cultural Center, 6/4/14
|Photo via @seeleymid4|
Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
As one of the best songwriters to come from these Land of Lakes, Dan Wilson has had an amazingly long and consistent career. Wednesday, he kicked off the first of three sold-out nights at the Cedar Cultural Center. Billed as "Words and Music By Dan Wilson," the evening was an opportunity to celebrate his latest release, Love Without Fear as well as his astounding body of work.
Among his own solo work, songs he made famous with Semisonic or the endless number of songs he so generously has shared with some of the most popular voices of our time, Wilson made the intimate occasion a special moment in sharing his process and personal thoughts and stories about his music in his own modest and heartfelt way.
Rocking a full on denim outfit, Wilson took to the stage with keyboardist Brad Gordon at his side and jumped forcefully into "A Song Can Be About Anything." Functioning somewhat as a thesis to the evening, the song took off with the weight of Wilson's lyrics settling in to the audience who were wild-eyed and attentive, holding on to each word of the song.
With assured ease, Wilson put the listener into a very personal space with his ability to connect with matters of the heart. This made the opportunity for Dan to put a microscope on each song and his process all the more heartwarming.
The man so modestly displays himself and is so kind and empathetic to his audience. Well-known for his candor and pleasurable personality, throughout the night he told stories that opened up a part of himself to the audience, "I'll be playing songs then saying random things that has to do with the songs. Or maybe doesn't have to do with the songs. Might not have anything to do with songs entirely. It'll be like a game."
"I always looked at the songwriters on all the albums and eventually decided I wanted to be one of those names. I wanted my name where Carole King was." Telling the story of working with King on Semisonic's "One True Love" he admitted to being nervous and a bit lost for words. "All that came out was 'My Mother is a big fan!' She told me that made her feel old."
Undeniably sweet, Wilson's songs touch listener's hearts in a special way, the result of careful reflections of the varied aspects of love.
Wilson described his first "musical blind date" with the Dixie Chicks and the evolution of their massive hit, "Not Ready to Make Nice" he penned for them. "I wanted the song to be more forgiving, more conciliatory. Natalie asked if the song 'Would forgive all the people that fucked us?' No!"