Rob Thomas Gets Worldly On New Solo Album

Rob Thomas says he's "probably about 80 percent done" with his second solo album with plans to have it ready for release in early 2009.

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Matchbox Twenty frontman Rob Thomas says he's "probably about 80 percent done" with his second solo album, the follow-up to 2005's platinum "...Something To Be," with plans to have it ready for release in early 2009.

Thomas tells that he and producer Matt Serletic "have been working kind of around and in tandem when I've been on the road with Matchbox" and, following Thomas' vacation in Hawaii with his family, are returning to work on the project.

Thomas describes the album, tentatively titled "Cradle Songs" after one of the tracks, as "the usual mish-mosh of styles, but hopefully just holding true to a bunch of good songs." Several of them, however, take a more global, rhythmic direction after working with South American and African percussionists.

"We started off with the idea of doing a newer version of (Paul Simon's) 'The Rhythm of the Saints," Thomas explains, "and that kinda carried us a long way through. It gave us a whole new bed to work with, like 'How do I get my pop sensibility around this and work it into that?' It was a lot of fun. But you go through different phases when you're writing; it took a different turn, and I just followed it, too."

Matchbox Twenty, Thomas says, is also "going to make another record," most likely with producer Steve Lillywhite, who helmed the new songs on the 2007 compilation "Exile On Mainstream." In fact, Thomas expects the rest of the group "will probably get started on that while I'm on the road with the solo thing."

"We're excited to get in and do that," Thomas says. "We've got a bunch of songs we had during the sessions (for 'Exile...') which didn't fit 'cause we only put the six new songs on it, and we also have a lot of stuff we were writing while we were on the road for the past year.

"We never had so much fun, and I think we know we're a band," he continues. "I'm able to work on my solo record and the guys are still able to be creative as a band. Our future's kind of wide open, whatever we want to do."

Matchbox Twenty drummer Paul Doucette, meanwhile, will release "Milk The Bee," the first album with his other band, The Break And Repair Method, on Tuesday (Sept. 16).

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    1st? I love Matchbox 20, but not so much of rob's solo work. It's way too poppy. I hope this will be better. South African percussions sound really cool though. I'll still buy the cd... or download it