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Dan Wilson Fills the ‘Easy Silence’

BROOKLYN: Semisonic principal sings solo offerings, dallies with the Dixie Chicks and croons 'Closing Time.''

“Pregnancy,” singer/ songwriter Dan Wilson remarked, “is the worstthing that can happen to a band.” You see, first time fathers with apenchant for song have a tendency to pen an ode to their spawn — ababy ballad quick to become a favorite in their catalog. So afterteasing with one that began, “I’m so in love with you ’cause you looklike me,” the now-solo Wilson, playing to a select crowd at the MusicHall of Williamsburg last night (Nov. 26), broke into his own daddymoment, the once-ubiquitous Semisonic single “Closing Time.” Peelingback the song’s layers, Wilson lined the performance with spokeninterjections, footnoting the subtleties such as the similaritiesbetween the song’s lyrics “alcohol” or “room” and their soundalikes”umbilical” and “womb.”

But besides the birds and the bees,Dan Wilson — looking dignified in rectangular frames and acool-but-casual suit — took a step further, giving a brief seminar onmaturation. Flanked by a single small amplifier and a spare FenderTelecaster, Wilson strummed a shiny acoustic to the tune of selectionsfrom his new solo disc Free Life. Leading with “Hand on myHeart,” Wilson grinned approvingly between his high-def transmission oficicle sharp melodies. Bouncing on tip-toes and gently gyrating hiships like a shy Elvis, Wilson cordially passed through polite Lifenumbers like the sensual “Sugar” and forlorn “Cry.” Celebrating hissongwriting collaborations with the Dixie Chicks, Wilson also treatedthe multiplying crowd to “Easy Silence” from the Chicks’ 2006 album Taking the Long Way.Call it sheer magnetism, but by the set’s own closing time — aninstructional sing-along version of “All Kinds” — Wilson had pulledthe stranglers from the downstairs bar to join in a most-spiritedrendition, leaving him to end with a victorious shout that just aboutsummed it up: “Oh yeah!”

We asked:Dan Wilson found radio success with his band Semisonic and their hitslike “Closing Time,” and also won a Grammy for writing the Dixie Chickssong “Not Ready to Make Nice.” What current act do you think would hitbig with a Wilson penned tune?