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Porter’s command of stage is in the details

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Wisconsin singer/songwriter Willy Porter has left on tour again, something he’s done faithfully since 1990 when his first album, “The Trees Have Soul,” hit the racks.

He will stop at Albuquerque’s Cell Theatre tonight, and though Porter might be a little worse for wear, it certainly won’t affect the power of his performance.

“It’s hard to leave the house,” Porter said recently from his Wisconsin home. “I love my home life and my family, but the touring thing, it’s fantastic because every day is another chance to play music, and I’m fortunate to do that, quite honestly.”

Willy Porter
WHEN: 8 tonight
WHERE: The Cell Theatre, 700 First NW
HOW MUCH: Advance tickets are $15 and are available online at Tickets also can be purchased at the door for $20

His fortune is Albuquerque’s as well, then, if he blesses the city with even a fraction of the intensity that his shows are often rife with. Porter typically takes to the stage alone – and with just an acoustic guitar in hand – but the dynamics he created on his recent EP, “Cheeseburgers and Gasoline” could have been crafted with the live setting in mind.

“Dynamics in a live performance are so important; when you put forth those quiet moments, the power of being loud is more,” Porter said. “I’ve come out and done shows that are all high-energy, fast and loud and people get tired. As emotional beings, we go through peaks and valleys every day, to say nothing of weeks at a time.”

And on “Cheeseburgers and Gasoline,” those peaks and valleys do make for a commanding-yet-calm overall feel.

Porter and singer Carmen Nickerson – who appears on several tunes on “Cheeseburgers” – join forces for a dark and bluesy cover of Peter Gabriel’s “Digging in the Dirt” (sample lyric: “this time you’ve gone too far”), one that spans nearly eight minutes.

“The baritone guitar I’m currently playing really set me down the path to do that song,” Porter said. “And even though Peter sings it alone, I thought it would be better to have me and Carmen singing together.”