Personnel: Rob Thomas (vocals, guitar, keyboards, tom tom, background vocals); Tim Pierce (guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar); Tom Bukovac (guitar, acoustic guitar); Rusty Anderson (guitar, electric guitar); Ben Peeler (guitar, steel guitar, lap steel guitar, bouzouki, oud); Michael Landau (guitar); Bryan Sutton (acoustic guitar, mandolin); Stevie Blacke (strings); Keith Fiddmont (alto saxophone, tenor saxophone); Kim Hutchcroft (tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, bass saxophone); Dino Soldo (tenor saxophone); Lee Thornburg (trumpet); Patrick Warren (piano, pump organ, chamberlin, keyboards); Matt Serletic (piano, keyboards, programming, background vocals); Victor Indrizzo (drums, percussion); Abe Laboriel, Jr. , Jim Keltner, Kenny Aronoff , Michael Bland (drums); Reverend Shuichi Tom Kurai, Taylor Moyer, Alfred Ortiz (taiko); Lenny Castro, Mark Dobson (percussion); Sharlotte Gibson, Robyn Troup, Marisol Thomas, Sherree Ford Brown, James Grundler, Butch Walker (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Chris Lord-Alge.
Recording information: Bicoastal Music, Ossinging, NY; Blackbird Studios, Nashville, TN; Emblem Studios, Calabasas, CA; Germano Studios, New York, NY; Stratosphere Studios, New York, NY.
Illustrator: Louise Robinson.
Photographer: Andrew McPherson .
Arranger: Matt Serletic.
Listening to cradlesong, the second album from Matchbox Twenty singer/songwriter Rob Thomas, it's hard not to think of him as a man out of time, making big music for a world of miniature niches. Thomas makes music as if it was the turn of the millennium, when there were cross-demographic radio formats and stores to goose sales to diamond status, traits that still serve him well when he's constructing sonic skyscrapers even if the results don't necessarily feel at home in the modern skyline. With its urgent hooks and surging sincerity, cradlesong is recognizably Thomas's work, right down to its lower-case typography, but with the assistance of longtime producer Matt Serletic he's tweaked the formula of his 2005 solo debut SOMETHING TO BE in judicious ways, using his worldbeat inflections as an underpinning instead of flair. This is a record built on careful details in its production and lyrics, constructed with discipline and eager to be taken seriously. This dogged sense of purpose does result in a tighter, better record than SOMETHING TO BE and even when it's not a lot of fun, it's not meant to be: it's big music about big issues, even inflating personal issues to the universal. If it seems somewhat out of step with its year, that almost makes Thomas' somber, determined craft admirable - he's doing this not because it'll give him a hit but because he believes in it.
Rolling Stone (p.80) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[A] more straightforward modern-rock album, with a bit of country twang thrown in....There is plenty of unexpected texture to keep your ears engaged."
Billboard (p.34) - "[With] an impressive sonic span that includes everything from the Eastern-tinged 'Fire on the Mountain' to the countrified twang of the affectingly intimate 'Getting Late'..."