Indie singer-songwriter Ben Kweller is going back to his country roots for a new album and tour, which will both hit in winter 2009. The first leg of the tour will begin February 16 at Slowdown in Omaha, NE, and conclude March 6 at Workplay Theater in Birmingham, AL.

The outing includes a February 25 show at Town Hall in New York, NY, a March 1 gig at Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro, NC, and a March 4 set at Mercy Lounge in Nashville, TN. A single date is slated for Canada on February 22 at The Mod Club Theatre in Toronto, ON. Dates for the musician’s West Coast and international tour legs will be announced soon.

Kweller will be touring behind the February 3 release of his fourth studio album, “Changing Horses.” The album signals a shift in the alternative-rocker’s repertoire, as he pays homage to his youth with a new country music sound.

“Country music was the soundtrack to my life. It’s still a big part of who I am,” the Texas native said in a statement. “When Garth Brooks or Alan Jackson come on the radio, somethin’ happens inside. Brings me back to the trees, back to pushin’ cars out of the mud. Reminds me of my hometown.”

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The 27-year-old musician also explained that the album has been in the works for more than a decade. Kweller wrote the first song when he was 16 years old, a year after he got his first record deal as a member of the band Radish.

“Over time, I’ve collected these songs that fit together and wanted to release them together,” he noted. “I didn’t want to try and fit them on my other albums one or two at a time.”

The upcoming release is a follow-up to Kweller’s eponymous 2006 album. The record received mostly positive reviews, peaking at No. 117 on the Billboard 200 and at No. 1 on the Heatseekers chart. Kweller made his solo debut in 2002 with “Sha Sha,” and returned in 2004 with “On My Way,” his first break on to the Billboard 200 that hit No. 83.

Over the summer, Kweller toured the U.S. to promote the forthcoming “Horses” along with the release of its precursor EP, “How Ya Lookin’ Southbound? Come In…”

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Ben Kweller itinerary:
(Dates are subject to change.)

February 16 Omaha, NE Slowdown
February 17 Minneapolis, MN Varsity Theatre
February 18 Milwaukee, WI Turner Hall Ballroom
February 21 Cleveland, OH Case Western Reserve University
February 22 Toronto, ON The Mod Club Theatre
February 24 Somerville, MA Somerville Theatre
February 25 New York, NY Town Hall
February 26 Washington, DC 9:30 Club
February 27 Philadelphia, PA Theatre Of The Living Arts
February 28 Pittsburgh, PA Diesel Club Lounge
March 1 Carrboro, NC Cat’s Cradle
March 3 Louisville, KY Headliners Music Hall
March 4 Nashville, TN The Mercy Lounge
March 5 Athens, GA 40 Watt Club
March 6 Birmingham, AL WorkPlay Theatre