Thinking hard and feeling harder - those values power American War's 2009 folk-pop collection "Rhetoric." They're even more potent in concert, when Matt Scheuermann's music is stripped to acoustic strums and burning pharynx. In another era, he'd be writing protest songs; in this one, he pens earnest odes to free lungs and exploding hearts.

Thinking hard and feeling harder — those values power American War’s 2009 folk-pop collection “Rhetoric.” They’re even more potent in concert, when Matt Scheuermann’s music is stripped to acoustic strums and burning pharynx. In another era, he’d be writing protest songs; in this one, he pens earnest odes to free lungs and exploding hearts.

Scheuermann’s quest to make music and experience life in the Jack Kerouac sense brought him to Columbus last year. He had already been spending a lot of time in town, commuting from Kent to play guitar with local DIY favorites The Sidekicks. With his bandmates from previous pop-punk project No Target Audience settling down into families and careers, the bustling Columbus house-show community started to look pretty appealing for a guy who aspires to accumulate experiences and ideas.

“More people tends to mean more learning,” Scheuermann said from across a concrete table on the patio of a South Campus coffee shop.

A few blocks down the street, Scheuermann has taken up residence at Monster House, perhaps the busiest local outpost in a nationwide network of homes hosting concerts by touring bands. Theirs is a scene in which the bands don’t just sleep on living room floors, they often perform there too.

Not that Scheuermann has any problem with performing in the traditional folk-rock contexts. His weeklong Ohio tour includes a stop Wednesday at Carabar. And though his immediate future includes touring with The Sidekicks for months on months, he aspires to take American War into grander contexts someday.

“If I could play theaters, I totally would. It’s important to play places you’re not comfortable with,” Scheuermann said. “It’s really important for human beings to do that. Just learning — experience as much as you can.”