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Big idea leads to ‘Big Inner’

Virginia Beach, Va., singer/songwriter Matthew E. White worked with big arrangements for his debut album, “Big Inner.”
Virginia Beach, Va., singer/songwriter Matthew E. White worked with big arrangements for his debut album, “Big Inner.”
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It took seven songs for Matthew E. White to make an impact in the music industry.

The singer/songwriter from Virginia Beach, Va., had a grand idea for his current album, “Big Inner” – and that plan paid off. The album has been a critical success, and buzz around White is gaining momentum.

“It’s been amazing to take a chance and actually see it all pay off,” he says during a recent interview. “And I’ve been opening on some really great tours, which is giving me more exposure.”

The Mountain Goats
With Matthew E. White
WHEN: 7:30 tonight
WHERE: Sol at Santa Fe Brewing, 37 Fire Place, Santa Fe
HOW MUCH: $18 at www.ticketssantafe.org or 505-988-1234

White is currently opening for indie rock band The Mountain Goats through mid-December. He will then embark on a short European tour in January.

While buzz is growing surrounding “Big Inner,” White quickly says what made the difference were the arrangements on the album.

“I have these really big string sections on the record,” he explains. “This album is a true studio record. It’s not really made for a live setting. We’ve been toying with some of the songs to arrange them for a live setting, and it’s coming along.”

White’s lyrics echo the common conditions of love, death, seeking and finding. He also pays tribute to artists such as Washington Phillips, Allen Toussaint, Jorge Ben, Jimmy Cliff and Randy Newman. The vibe is framed by Trey Pollard’s cinematic string arrangement, Megafaun’s Phil Cook on near-frantic keys, baritone sax squawks and pacemaking congas.

While Santa Fe concert-goers won’t hear many of the songs that comprise “Big Inner,” White says there are plenty of other songs in his set that people will enjoy.

“I understand that I’m new to many people and I take it as a challenge to win them over,” he explains. “It’s been a journey to get where I am right now and I’ve been having fun.”

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