BT: Tift, it's great speaking with you. The reviews for your new album, Another Country, regularly mention its "blue-eyed soul" sound, notably on tracks including "Morning Is My Destination" and "Tell Me Something True." Is that a vibe you were targeting on this record?
TM: It's just natural - I feel soulfully about it, so I'm glad it comes across that way. On my last record, Tambourine, I threw myself into exploring a lot of the soulful singer/songwriters and soul music. I don't want to be a singer/songwriter who's songs fall apart in your hands. I want my songs to have a core of strength.
BT: Were these songs that had existed in various forms for a while or did the material come to you in a short burst of creativity?
TM: There's a little story there. I took a hiatus and went to Paris'a0 - this record was conceived during that time. I lived in a flat with a piano in it'a0 - I lived there for four months and I've been back-and-forth since then.
BT: If you will, talk about [vocalist/guitartist] Charlie Sexton's involvement on the record and how that came to be.
TM: The core of the band is my longtime band. I met Charlie down in Texas and we've all been in love with him for a long time after seeing him with Bob Dylan and knowing what an exeptional guitar player he is. When we became friends, I called Charlie up and told him that I would really love it if he would come out and he did. He's such a lovely human being as well as a phenomenal guitar player.
BT: How do you feel about the climate in the age of iTunes, satellite radio, customized ringtones and [website] YouTube? Is technology a great thing or does it create over-saturation and confusion?
TM: I think it's not a black-and-white thing - technology always has benefits and drawbacks. I think there certainly is a lot of information to weed through right now, but anytime you have a more direct connection with your audience, that's great. I don't think the album format is dying - I think that an MP3 is very similar to a 45 [RPM single] from 1955. The consumers have to choose how they want to come to your music and there are more marketing questions to answer. Finding music has always been like a treasure hunt to me'a0 and now that treasure hunt isn't that difficult. Luckily, my job hasn't changed that much.
BT: Obviously, you have great affection for your material. That being said, how do songs stay fresh for you when you've performed some ofthem more times than you can count?
TM: I want to write songs that have legs enough to meet me halfway. I have a band that's been with me for a long time and having a musical family keeps it fresh for me. When you factor in the venue and the crowd, it's always a different soup. You get to a point where you don't have to worry about playing a song physically which allows you to get into it on many other levels.
Tickets to the 8 p.m. show are $13 - $15 day of the show - and can be purchased at www.workplay.com or by calling 380-4082.