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Singer/songwriter Mat Kearney has always infused his songs with a bit of spoken word and a penchant for hip-hop. In a recent chat with Marcus D, the Oregon born performer explained his musical roots.

“As a punk 14-year-old, skating around, graffiting trains, I was more of a hip-hop kid.”

Kearney said he was a late comer to the music scene, starting to write and play in college at California’s Chico State University. The then sophomore English major would steal his roommate’s guitar and head to the school’s racquetball courts and write songs using the two chords that he knew. Storytelling rather than skill fueled his first forays into music.

“The hip-hop influenced stuff really allowed me to express myself more profoundly than my musical ability,” he said.

In the end, Kearney divulged that it was his love of writing that got him through high school and into college — leading him to music.

“It was the beginning of me realizing I was good at something. [I] picked up a guitar and all of a sudden it was this glove that kinda fit me well.”

[Photos: Mat Kearney In The Alice Lounge]

Kearney’s latest album Young Love is out now on Universal Republic and he will be hitting the road supporting Train this summer. Complete tour dates below.

Train with Mat Kearney and Andy Grammer:

JUL 26 – Time Warner Cable Arena Charlotte, NC
JUL 27 – Raleigh Amphitheatre Raleigh, NC
JUL 28 – Stars In The Park Des Moines, IA
AUG 4 – Indiana State Fair Indianapolis, IN
AUG 5 – The Woods at Fontanel Nashville, TN
AUG 7 – Meadow Brook Music Festival Rochester Hills, MI
AUG 8 – PNC Pavilion at Riverbend Cincinnati, OH
AUG 11 – Ravinia Festival Highland Park, IL
AUG 12 – Ravinia Festival Highland Park, IL
AUG 14 – Toledo Zoo Amphitheater Toledo, OH
AUG 15 – Illinois State Fair Springfield, IL
AUG 16 – Jacob’s Pavilion at Nautica Cleveland, OH
AUG 18 – The Mann Center for the Performing Arts Philadelphia, PA
AUG 19 – Mohegan Sun Uncasville, CT
AUG 21 – Wolf Trap Vienna, VA
AUG 24 – Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center Canadaigua, NY
AUG 25 – Champlain Valley Expo Essex Junction, VT
AUG 26 – Meadowbrook U.S. Cellular Pavilion Gilford, NH
AUG 30 – MAC Center – Monmouth University West Long Beach, NJ
AUG 31 – Tanglewood Lenox, MA
SEP 1 – Borgata Atlantic City, NJ
SEP 5 – Mizner Park Amphitheatre Boca Raton, FL
SEP 6 – St. Augustine Amphitheatre St Augustine, FL
SEP 7 – Chastain Park Amphitheatre Atlanta, GA
SEP 9 – Downtown Revival Music Festival Dayton, OH
SEP 11 – Tuscaloosa Amphitheatre Tuscaloosa, AL
SEP 12 – Mud Island Amphitheatre Memphis, TN
SEP 13 – Oklahoma City Zoo Ampitheatre Oklahoma City, OK
SEP 15 – Verizon Theatre Grand Prairie, TX
SEP 16 – Whitewater Amphitheater New Braunfels, TX
SEP 19 – Red Rocks Amphitheatre Morrison, CO
SEP 22 – Edgefield Amphitheatre Portland, OR
SEP 23 – Western Washington Fair Puyallup, WA
SEP 28 – Greek Theatre Berkeley, CA
SEP 29 – Nokia Theatre Los Angeles, CA
SEP 30 – Comerica Theatre Phoenix, AZ

– Bradford Hornsby, Alice@97.3/San Francisco


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