It would be all too easy for Matt Nathanson
to fall into the chasm of singer-songwriters whose sleeves are sopped with aortic blood. After all, his weeping melodies and minor-chord turns dexterously churned out on a twelve-string guitar and accompanied by cello are always punctuated by somber lyrics of heartbreak. Yet the integral thing that sets Nathanson apart from oh-so-serious counterparts such as Howie Day or David Gray is the way that Nathanson shatters his self-pity with self-deprecation. In fact, he infuses his live shows with humor; there's nary a woe-is-me ballad that isn't immediately followed by an anecdote that alleviates the reality of depression, Annie Hall
-style. Nathanson's music is admirable, but his humility makes his show a must-see.