The smallest venue Joshua Radin plays this spring is Cleveland -- and he understands why: "Cleveland's kind of a hardcore town." The wispy folk-popper lived in Shaker Heights until attending Northwestern, where he roomed with Zach Braff while harnessing a love for moody singer-songwriters like Elliot Smith and Damien Rice. Now 32 and a mainstay at Hollywood's Hotel Café, Radin didn't start making music until he was 27 and penned his first tune just three years ago (after a bitter breakup). Like much of his music, "Winter" places Radin's breathy voice over delicate pick-work and meandering cello, and deals, from a distance, with relationships: "Your voice is all I hear somehow/Calling out winter/ Your voice is the splinter inside me."
"Winter" moved the very movable Braff, who pinned the song to the end of a Scrubs episode, leading to Radin's debut for Columbia: last year's We Were Here. Now he's headlining his first tour, dragging with him his sweet-singing girlfriend, his guitar, that cello, and plenty of breakup songs. Bring your Paxil.