Flying solo is nothing new to Rob Thomas.
The Matchbox Twenty frontman has spent time with the band and without. But now, after five years, he is ready to spread his wings again for a monthlong solo acoustic North American tour that will bring him to Modesto for a show Tuesday at the Gallo Center for the Arts.
Thomas has two solo albums under his belt, 2005’s “… Something To Be” and 2008’s “Cradlesong.” But with his almost 20 years in Matchbox Twenty, Thomas adds six other albums to his name – four studio albums and two retrospective/anniversary releases. He also picked up three Grammy Awards for his ubiquitous 1999 megahit, “Smooth,” with Carlos Santana.
Thomas said his latest effort, 2012’s Billboard chart-topping release “North,” with Matchbox Twenty, solidifies the group’s place in the pop-rock pantheon.
“In the world we occupy, pop-rock, I think we’re one of the best,” he told the San Diego Union-Tribune last summer. “Over the course of the last 18 years, we’ve become a great live band. Every album we do is a bread crumb for people to come hear us live.”
The group’s record sales speak for themselves. Matchbox Twenty has gone platinum almost 30 times over and had hits including “Push,” “3AM,” “If You’re Gone,” “Bent,” “Mad Season” and “Unwell.”
Thomas’ solo singles include “Lonely No More,” “This Is How a Heart Breaks” and “Her Diamonds.”
All those years in the industry and making music have produced a calmer Thomas. The 42-year-old singer-songwriter said his family – wife of 13 years and son from a previous relationship – have mellowed him.
“When I was young, I used to think I had to create drama around my personal life so I could write about it,” he told the Huffington Post in June. “A lot of the relationships and bad decisions of my early 20s was me subconsciously wanting to create the kind of environment that bleeds angry songs. I was trying to get into horrible relationships that I knew would fall apart spectacularly, so once they did, I could write about them.
“Now I realize that, unfortunately, as you get older, that drama is there all the time, so if you turn over enough rocks, you’ll find it. Anyone who works hard enough will find highs and lows. My life is my muse, whether it’s my relationship with my wife or something with my son.”
Thomas kicked off his new solo tour Wednesday in Southern California and will swing through 27 cities while crisscrossing the country. In February, he posted on his official Facebook page that he was writing songs for a new solo album. And so far, he seemed pleased with the progress.
“General assessment of this solo album is I’ve never had this many good songs this early on in the process,” he wrote. “That’s promising, no?”