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Q&A: Matthew Carlson kicks off national tour at the Robin Theatre


Matthew Carlson is known locally for his work in the Stick Arounds and Harborcoat and his “What Am I Making” podcast, but in June, he hits the road on a coast-to-coast solo tour. Oh, and he has a new solo album in the works, as well as other 2024 releases on his label, Phonophore Records.  
You’ve been touring a lot lately — what sparked this? 
Matthew Carlson: I quit my job of 23 years last summer because I was struggling terribly with mental health issues. My job was destroying any chance I had at happiness. When I left that job, I knew I would need to generate at least a portion of my income by playing shows. As such, I toured for two weeks last summer as a solo artist. This summer, I’m back out again for a full month in June. As terrifying as it’s been to walk away from a steady paycheck, it’s lit a fire under my creative output and energies. Touring a bunch is perhaps the biggest outward sign of what a motivator it is for me.  

What types of venues are you playing on this tour? 
Generally, I love the variety of spaces on tours like this one. I’ll be playing a lot of nonconventional spaces like houses, decks, patios, historic buildings, breweries and more. I love that the feel of each room is unique from night to night. And playing solo affords me a chance to lean into the storytelling part of my songwriting. On this trip, I’ll make my first visits to Alabama and Mississippi to play. I’m excited to experience the Deep South and play my songs in a place filled with so much cultural history.  


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