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Joshua Radin beneath the surface

Acclaimed singer-songwriter comes to Charlottesville to promote fourth album Underwater

It’s probably safe to say singer-songwriter Joshua Radin never thought a medical problem would give rise to a highly-acclaimed fourth album. In fact, the Ohio native, who didn’t learn to play guitar until his late 20s, probably never foresaw an album at all. But after many twists and turns — not to mention the help of Scrubs’ Zach Braff — he’s here to stay, set to play Monday evening alongside A Fine Frenzy at Charlottesville’s Paramount Theater. Last week, Radin caught up with Arts & Entertainment to talk about his tour, his most recent album and scary concepts like the future.

Arts & Entertainment: What has touring with A Fine Frenzy’s Alison Sudol and her team been like?

Joshua Radin: So fun! They’re a great bunch of people, and I really enjoy getting to listen to her show.

A&E: What are you most looking forward to about playing in Charlottesville?

JR: Last time I played at the Jefferson Theater, and it sold out. It was a brilliant audience. Charlottesville is a great place — great restaurants, great bars and the people are lovely. I’ve never played the Paramount Theater, so I’m really excited for that. Hopefully it will sound just as good! I’m going to have to work up some kind of Dave Matthews cover to do.

A&E: What has been your most memorable moment of the tour so far?

JR: Probably when I got to go to Spain and Italy this past summer for the first time to play. I’ve been waiting to go not just as a tourist. I love to travel, but I’m a shy person, and it’s so easy to meet people when you play a show. The locals take you around and show you all the cool places. You really get to know a place. Barcelona, especially, was one those of those cities where after going, you really feel like you can live there.

A&E: Your fourth album dropped July 31 of this year. What served as your inspiration for Underwater?

JR: I had a punctured eardrum my whole life, and the doctor always told me, “Don’t go underwater. It will damage your hearing, and it will be very painful.” Last year, though, I found out it had healed on its own and I finally got the go-ahead to go under if I wanted to. It was very inspiring because of the silence that I heard. I never really understood what it meant until that point. Even though it probably meant something different for me than it did for Paul Simon, my mind has never been more free. Even when you’re laying in bed at night, you can still hear your heart beat. I pretty much wrote half of the [title] song while I was underwater.

A&E: What made you decide to return to your more traditional, soft-spoken sound after 2010’s The Rock and the Tide?

JR: With The Rock and the Tide, I wanted to try something new. I experimented with the [more rock] sound and got it out of my system. But I wouldn’t say I returned to any sound. [My music] is more like what I am feeling in the moment. For Underwater, I [just happened to be] feeling more acoustic and introspective when I was writing the songs.

A&E: So what’s next on your agenda after the tour?

JR: I’m sure I’ll be writing a bunch of songs. Even though I’ve been [doing] a little writing [while on] tour, it’s hard to get a lot done because I usually have to do it when I get some privacy. But on the other hand, it’s really nice to have a band around when you’re writing to work things out with. [Either way,] I have absolutely no [real] plans whatsoever, and that sounds amazing.