Melancholy has been Jack Klatt’s calling card since he recorded his debut album, “Love Me Lonely” in 2013. “Shadows in the Sunset,” which dropped in 2016, features another collection of sad songs.
However, the title of the cerebral singer/songwriter’s latest album, “It Ain’t the Same,” is appropriate. Klatt, 34, still sings about matters of the heart, but he has a lighter and more upbeat take this time out.
“I needed to move in another direction,” Klatt said by phone from his Minneapolis home. “I was thinking more about my audience than I ever have. I don’t mean that in terms of marketing. I was just thinking, ‘What would my audience like to hear?’ I want to bring people together, and I think a great way to do that is writing up love songs. Everybody can relate to love. Everybody needs love.”
“Prove My Love” is one of the most upbeat and hopeful tunes Klatt has ever written.
“I love being up and that is a positive song,” Klatt said. “I need to get away from the heartbreak material. It’s not difficult to write those type of songs. I wanted to challenge myself by moving on to a different style of song.”
The album has other change-ups, like “Caught in the Middle,” which was inspired by the upheaval in the White House.
“I wrote the songs from this album in 2016 right around the time of the presidential election,” Klatt said. “After that, I felt like we all needed something positive. With ‘Caught in the Middle,’ it’s obvious what it’s about, but I tried not to mention his name. I don’t want to say anything about him. When he was running for president during the primaries, I wished people would have stopped mentioning his name.”
Klatt, who will perform Tuesday (11/5) at CSPS Hall in Cedar Rapids, is on his first national tour as a headliner.
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“It’s different not being a support act,” he said. “I have a lot of driving to do, but I’m excited to be going out as a four-piece band.”
Klatt’s pal John James Tourville, who played guitar and pedal steel on “It Ain’t the Same,” is part of the backing unit.
“He made a huge impact on the album,” Klatt said. “He’ll make a big difference on the road. Those who come out will be impressed with the band. We’re going to be all over the country, and I’m like a travel agent now. I’m booking a hotel in Cedar Rapids. It’s the first show of our tour and it’s going to be an extra-special evening, since the first show of a tour is always significant.”
Klatt received some advice from fellow roots-rocker Parker Millsap.
“I was just texting Parker about the tour, and he told me to bring lots of deodorant,” Klatt said. “Parker’s a funny guy. I had a blast opening for him. He gets it. I’ll do what it says so we smell good when we get to town. This is a crazy life, but what else could I do?”
After a brief stint at the University of Minnesota, Klatt dropped out to focus solely on music.
“This is all I want to do,” he said. “This is all I can do. I love writing songs, particularly love songs.”
His favorite songwriters range from the iconic Bob Dylan to the obscure outlaw country recording artist Terry Allen.
Another unheralded songwriter, Robyn Hitchcock, is impressed with Klatt’s tunes and his moniker.
“Robyn isn’t just a great musician, he’s also a great guy and my label mate (at Yep Roc),” Klatt said. “He once said to me, ‘Jack Klatt, your name is a reflection of itself.’”
Klatt’s moniker sounds like a pseudonym.
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“Well it kind of is (a nom de plume) since my first name isn’t Jack,” Klatt admitted.
When asked what his given first name is, Klatt chuckled. “I would rather not tell you,” he said.
In an entertainment world in which fans know everything, some mystery is welcome. “You don’t need to know everything,” he said.
• What: Jack Klatt, with Brian Johannesen opening
• Where: CSPS Hall, 1103 Third St. SE, Cedar Rapids
• When: 7 p.m. Tuesday (11/5)
• Tickets: $16 advance, $19 door; CSPS Box Office, (319) 364-1580 or Legionarts.org/events/upcoming/
• Artist’s website: Jackklatt.com