Dan Wilson at the Birchmere

Last night I headed over to the Birchmere. It takes a lot these days to get me to go out on a school night, especially solo, but Dan Wilson‘s tenor will do it. He came to fame with Semisonic and has gained fame when winning a Grammy cowriting with the Dixie Chicks. He played mostly songs off his new album, which was fine with me. He started off with “Easy Silence”, one of the songs he cowrote with the Chicks, and he gave it a low key introduction, “I wrote this song with three nice women from Texas”.

I’d seen Semisonic twice, once pre-hit (opening for emmet swimming, unimaginable two years later) and once at an HFStival. I liked ’em a lot but those shows didn’t allow Dan to shine. He’s a funny and warm performer, getting an unfamiliar audience to sing along. I was amazed to learn that the big hit “Closing Time” was a way to sneak in the impending (at the time) birth of his daughter, definitely puts the song in a new light. My favorite moment was his last song, “All Kinds”. I’d picked it for my CD compilation last year, and had been singing it to myself all day. It felt good when he encouraged all of us to sing along.

Kathleen Edwards was the headliner, and I’d been meaning to catch her for a while (though I doubt I’d have made it over without the opener), picked up her last two albums. She had a full band with her, which was a must as some of her songs (especially the new ones) were softer, but the band forced more of a dynamic into them. She endeared herself to me when she introduced one song then said “I know this is awkward, but I’ve really got to pee, so you’re going to get an extra length guitar solo”. She was pretty good, but I left early as it was a school night, though I’d see her again if the opportunity presents itself.