Singer-songwriter Alex Preston comes back for trio of NH showsBy JULIA ANN WEEKES
NH Weekend Editor February 08. 2017 1:17PM
If you go...WHO: Alex Preston
IN NEWMARKET: 7 p.m. Friday at the Stone Church Music Club, 5 Granite St. Tickets: $10. Info: stonechurchrocks.com, 659-7700.
IN CONCORD: 8 p.m. Saturday at the Capitol Center for the Arts' Spotlight Café, 44 So. Main St. Tickets: $15. Info: ccanh.com; 225-1111
IN GORHAM: 6 p.m. Sunday at the Medallion Opera House, 20 Park St. Tickets: $12. Info: gorhamnh.org, 466-3322.
Mont Vernon native Alex Preston, the 23-year-old singer and songwriter who finished third in “American Idol’s” 13th season in 2014, is back in his home state this weekend for a trio of concerts.
Now living in Nashville, Tenn., and working on his second album, Preston will play shows at 7 p.m. Friday at the Stone Church Music Club in Newmarket, 8 p.m. Saturday at the Capitol Center for the Arts’ Spotlight Cafe in Concord, and 6 p.m. Sunday at the Medallion Opera House in Gorham.
Though his 2015 self-titled debut CD, with the single “Break My Heart,” sold more than 100,000 copies, he admitted in a recent phone interview that he still gets stage jitters. Take his Jan. 2 Tweet: “Big, scary news. I’m going on a tour by myself. I hope people come. Please come. Hi.”
Joking aside, he’s had a few weeks to come to terms with his first series of headlining gigs. So has he gotten comfortable with the idea?
“Yeah,” he said with a laugh. “I’m still nervous about it, but it’ll be fun. I’ll be going to places I haven’t gone to before, so I’m excited.”
He’s doing dates through mid-February in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and New York before heading south for a couple of shows in Alabama and Tennessee.
“I’ll be playing stuff from my first album, and I also started preparing a second one here in Tennessee, so I’m probably going to be playing some new stuff, too,” Preston said.
He’s got a Kickstarter fundraising campaign in the works, and he keeps his fans in the loop via social media updates and live-streaming jams. His recent cover of UK hitmaker Ed Sheeran’s new song “Castle on the Hill” is a good example of the soulful vulnerability and instrumental versatility and intensity the artists share; Preston plays a dozen or so instruments, including guitar and violin.
Though he’s living in the heart of country music — Nashville is home to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and the historic Ryman Auditorium — Preston said he hasn’t changed his own sound.
“(His new CD) is definitely not country but ... it’s cool to write with country people. It gives new perspective and ideas or chords. It hasn’t changed my sound, but it’s helped it,” Preston said.
His song “October,” which he shared on his Facebook page Jan. 30, has that syncopated phrasing and heartfelt storytelling that first drew a following on his “American Idol” stint.
“A lot has changed since the show,” Preston said, referencing the frenetic pace of the live TV series. “Obviously, it’s gotten a lot more relaxed since the show. When I come home (to Mont Vernon), it’s more like people treat me as though they know me,” Preston said, good-naturedly adding that there are more conversations and fewer requests for pictures.
“They usually come up and start talking about how the family is,” he said, adding, “It’s really nice. I definitely still occasionally get ... recognized a lot in New Hampshire, but in places like Nashville, not as often.”