August 16, 2012 | by Erin Durkin
A winning combination

Matt Alber and Tom Goss
Sunday at 8 p.m.
Atlas (1333 H St., N.E.)
General Admission is $20; VIP $50

Matt Alber, who won fame for his barber shop-set video ‘End of the World,’ won two Grammys for his work in the classical ensemble Chanticleer. (Photo courtesy Alber)

When singer/songwriters Matt Alber and Tom Goss last performed together in Washington, the city was buried under 20-35 inches of snow. Despite the abnormally awful weather, people came out to hear their acoustic love songs.

Now the two are reuniting at Atlas (1333 H St., N.E.) on Sunday evening. Coming from opposite ends of the country, Alber brings his guitar from San Francisco to join the D.C.-based Goss to sing about finding love, losing love and starting anew.

Though the pair may sing about similar things, both say that their styles are very different.

“Matt has a flawless voice, his arrangements are beautiful,” Goss says. “Mine are a little more aggressive than his. People typically say that mine are working class love songs, a little grittier. It is not perfect.”

Alber, a two-time Grammy winner, began his musical career when he joined the group Chanticleer, a classical vocal group that performs baroque and renaissance music. When he first entered pop music, Alber and Goss admired each other’s music from afar.

“We met in San Francisco in 2009 and Tom showed me the ropes,” Alber says. “He encouraged me to take my guitar around as he does.”

Tom Goss (Photo by Michael Key)

Goss, a former Catholic seminarian-turned guitarist, began performing in D.C. coffeehouses in 2006 and has since released two albums and performed in about 100 cities nationwide. In 2011, Blade readers named him best musician. A shameless romantic, many of his songs are inspired by his husband.

“I think we write about what we know,” Goss says. “You have the ability to dream of the world as you would want it.”

Alber uses his music to express his wants and some problems he has faced.

“I use my guitar and my piano as my therapist,” he says. “I sing about things like looking for Mr. Right or working out personal demons.”

He says being gay definitely influences what he writes about and how he sings about love. His songs aren’t just for LGBT listeners, but being out gives them a level of unwritten honesty he says gay listeners appreciate.

“Most of our audience members are super cute gay couples, but straight couples can have just as good of a time. What I write about love can apply to all couples,” he says.

Mixed with his original songs, Alber also does what he describes as “unexpected covers” by artists such as Whitney Houston and Madonna.

While love is a major subject in their music, the artists often touch on challenges that face the LGBT community. Goss, especially, has sung about subjects such as the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” law.

“In some of my songs I explored the lives of men in the military who have been affected by DADT,” he says. “Soldiers who had to hide their identities and who they loved.”

Goss says he and Alber work well together, yet only get to see each other a few days a year. This weekend’s performance will be the fourth they’ve done in the past two years.

“I just really admire his music,” Goss says. “I always learn a lot when I play.”

Alber is also looking forward to reuniting with Goss and is especially excited by the slim chance of extreme weather.

“There is absolutely no chance of snow and the Atlas is air conditioned,” he says.

At the end of the night, Alber and Goss will be sitting in the lobby to speak with audience members. They will also be offering a VIP private performance an hour before the doors open to the public.

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