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Last Updated on Thursday, 16 December 2010 18:17
 

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NEW YORK (Billboard) - Nearly a decade has passed since alternative trio Semisonic's last full-length album was released. But in that time, frontman Dan Wilson has reinvented his career as a genre-crossing jack of all trades.

His Grammy Award-winning songwriting skills have led to recent high-profile collaborations with Josh Groban and the Bravery, including the latter group's track "Ours" from the "Twilight Saga: Eclipse" soundtrack. Meanwhile, Wilson's solo career as a folk-rock artist is showcased on "Live at the Pantages," a 27-track album released digitally July 20. Recorded at the Pantages Theater in the artist's hometown of Minneapolis in December 2008, the concert album "puts a cap on a very important time in my life," Wilson says.

He notes that after Semisonic released alt-rock hit "Closing Time" in 1998, his decision to start co-writing songs for other artists came easily.

"It's something I had envisioned for quite a while, even during Semisonic's peak touring time in 2000-2001," says Wilson, who grew up idolizing songwriting duos like John Lennon and Paul McCartney. "I realized that a song, and how a song is made, was something that was separate from a performance."

Wilson's songwriting career took off in 2006 when he co-wrote six songs for the Dixie Chicks' "Taking the Long Way." Those songs included the single "Not Ready to Make Nice," which earned him a Grammy for song of the year. Since then, Wilson has penned songs with Keith Urban and Rachael Yamagata. He also recently co-wrote three tracks for Adele's upcoming sophomore album.

Wilson's eclectic wish list of collaborators includes Joanna Newsom, Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson and T Bone Burnett.

Now writing songs with Groban for the singer's upcoming album, Wilson is also finishing the follow-up to "Free Life," his 2007 solo disc produced by Rick Rubin. Wilson, who isn't affiliated with a label, has opted to make the album by himself, playing multiple instruments on the disc after tinkering with tracks for two months in his Minneapolis home earlier this year.

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