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Clay Aiken Comes To The Van Wezel 2/12

Clay Aiken has never sounded more at home than he does singing the lushly arranged classics on his fifth studio album Tried and True - the international pop phenomenon's first album for Decca Records.

Showcasing Aiken's powerful voice and considerable interpretive gifts, the new CD is comprised of songs from the '50s and '60s that Aiken grew up listening to as a child. For Aiken, Tried and True (so named because he feels the songs have stood the test of time) was about getting back to himself after a career performing more pop-oriented material. "There are a lot of elements to this album that are about me returning to what I'm comfortable with," Aiken says. "To me, older songs are more melodically appealing and beautiful. So doing this album was an opportunity to just be myself." Highlights include swinging album opener "Can't Take My Eyes Off You," made famous by Frankie Valli; "Misty," the Johnny Mathis hit, and a soulful rendition of Elvis Presley's "Suspicious Minds." Tried and True also features two songs Aiken sang while appearing as a contestant on the second season of American Idol: "Mack the Knife" and "Unchained Melody," alongside songs with guest appearances by saxophonist David Sanborn on "What Kind of Fool Am I?" and Broadway star Linda Eder on Roy Orbison's "Crying."

Aiken launched his career journey seven years ago on American Idol, where he won over millions of viewers with his phenomenal voice and down-home charm. He parlayed his success into full-fledged stardom, selling more than six million copies worldwide of his previous four albums, all of which debuted in the Top 5 on the Billboard chart. In addition, Aiken has launched nine live tours, made the New York Times best-seller list by co-authoring the inspirational memoir Learning to Sing: Hearing the Music In Your Life, and won several American Music and Billboard Music Awards. In January 2008, Aiken made his Broadway debut in the role of Sir Robin in the Tony Award-winning musicAl Monty Python's Spamalot.

Ticket prices range from $30 to $60. For more information and to buy tickets, contact the Van Wezel Box office at (941) 953-3368 or log onto www.vanwezel.org. This show is sponsored by the Van Wezel Foundation.

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