From pranking fans early last year with a fake leaked album to collaborating with William Shatner, from backing collegiate a cappella groups (for an album due next month) to reportedly penning quick-hit sessions with author Nick Hornby, Ben Folds career path has grown increasingly eccentric. Onstage, though, this piano man has always known how to channel his penchant for clever antics into an infectious synergy with his audience. Evidenced by 2002s Ben Folds Live, Folds is far more comfortable working the piano bench than fleshing out his music in the studio, where his strong suit as a performer is often overshadowed by glossy production value or rickety band dynamics. Now a Nashville native, the Ryman has become a home base of sorts for Folds, and were, ahem, the luckiest to get this songsmith pure and uncut.
Tue., April 7, 7:30 p.m., 2009