Ralphie Report: The Plain White T’s hit the road with Rob Thomas.

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Ralphie Aversa

Plain White T’s

Plain White T’s will head out on the road this summer as the supporting band for Matchbox Twenty lead singer Rob Thomas’ solo tour. Surprisingly, despite both acts enjoying a great deal of success on the Adult Contemporary charts, they have yet to meet.

After chatting with the four-fifths of the Chicago-based quartet, we wish we could be a fly on the wall when that first encounter takes place. Thomas is widely known as one of the nicest guys in the business and the fellas from The T’s also have a great reputation that precedes them. Tom Higgenson, Dave Tirio, Mike Retondo and Tim Lopez stopped by “Ralphie Tonight” the week the band’s latest LP, “American Nights” came out. When I asked what the group’s favorite Thomas and/or MB20 song was, Higgenson was quick with the reply.

“Um… that Rixton song,” the lead singer joked. “That’s my favorite Rob Thomas song.”

Yes Higgenson was referring to “Me And My Broken Heart,” and he dropped some knowledge on us in the process of his joke: Rixton gave a co-write credit on the track to Thomas, as the Grammy winner’s “Lonely No More” served as inspiration for the creation of “Broken Heart.”

And even among musicians, the term “inspired by” was up for grabs, as Higgenson argued against his bandmates that Rixton simply ripped Thomas off. Lopez, Retondo and Tirio countered that the English band was simply paying homage and respect to the singer.

Regardless, artists willingly or otherwise crediting other musicians that inspire their work financially is the new trend in music. Take Sam Smith, who gave Tom Petty a credit on “Stay With Me” well after the song’s release and chart peak – without a lawsuit. Then there is the case of Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams, who were ordered by a judge to pay $7.3 million to the family of Marvin Gaye because of “Blurred Lines.”

Higgenson believes that the court’s decision in the “Blurred Lines” case could set a precedent that does not bode well for musicians.

“The definition of a song is the lyric and the melody,” he explained. “Neither of those (in ‘Blurred Lines’) were anything like the Marvin Gaye song (‘Got to Give It Up’).

“So it was like, (Gaye’s family) sued (Thicke and Williams) for having a vibe of their song? I keep saying, it’s like… the next person that releases an acoustic song, I’m going to sue them because they’re copying ‘Hey There Delilah.’ That’s silly.”