“The songs are heart sprung, tender and tough, fragile and enduring. Some are jazzy, sung with sass and echoes of Carole KIng and Ricky Lee Jones. Others are moody, full of wee hours wisdom, or yearning and soul stirring, soaring toward heights flown by the likes of Joni Mitchell and Emmy Lou Harris. Webb is a newcomer whose music is mined in the timeless chambers of the human heart.”
- Steven Dougherty, senior writer, People Magazine
“ The angelic range and hard-grit soul of Wendy Webb’s voice rivals that of Emmy Lou Harris. Who would have thought that in our lifetime there would be another with a talent so pure.”
- Lorian Hemingway, author of “Walk On Water”
“Laura Nyro lives! I mean that as the highest compliment. What a pleasure to listen to Wendy Webb play her piano and sing her breathtaking songs. I could go on for hours talking about her complex lyrics, but it is the sound of her voice that I find so haunting, the achingly beautiful voice of real experience. This seems to me real heartfelt music -- an endangered species in today’s lets-make-a-quick-buck popular culture -- from a woman who has lived a full life asking those adult questions of herself and of the people she loves, not at high noon when it is always easy to put a smiley face on matters, but long after midnight when the shadows remain hidden.
I’m bowled over by Wendy Webb.
- Jeff Klinkenberg, columnist for St. Petersburg Times
“Wendy Webb’s precise vocal nuances breathe life and meaning into her new CD Morning In New York with such winners as “Shadows and the Fire,” an intricate sojourn into the ultimate contrasts of darkness and flame. Her songwriting prowess leads to disarmingly intimate confessions such as “You were chasing my disguise/Such a tattered naked lie." Wendy’s her own woman with her own way of bending the notes and twisting the words into lyrics that plummet deep into the epicenter of those who love or at least try to love. Her messages wander from musical to mystical, from juiced to jaded, as her creative honesty lures the listener simultaneously into both her heart and her hurt. “Fantasia Extreme,” for example, shimmers with this revelation: “This time it really brought me down/and I ain’t never flown this close to the ground.” “In the title cut, Webb dissects the dual entities of the Big Apple and the relationships that are the core of her life, examines them with forensic fervor, and reconstructs the city and herself in the process.” These musical portraits stretch the canvas of life with vignettes that range from dark images that would do a latter day Van Gogh proud to gentle Andrew Wyeth style landscapes that color “Paradise Street.” “This is not only survival of the fittest, it’s survival of the finest – warts, worries and wonders jumbled in a mixed bag of despair, hope, laughter and tears. The beautiful chanteuse renders it all with the rare ability to alter viewpoints and change perceptions within the limited real time of a CD.” “Bolstered by a style that vacillates from down-home funk to uptown opera, Wendy Webb displays a special talent that deserves to be discovered and cherished.”
- Gerry Wood, former Editor-in-Chief, Billboard, New York City and author of “Tales From Country Music”
"Wendy Webb's Moon on Havana is intelligent, complicated and above all musical. Webb sings with such emotional investment--jubilant, rueful, whatever she needs--that the listener has that rarest experience: of being swept away."
- Tom McGuane, Author, recipient of the Wallace Stegner Award, and member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters
"Wendy Webb's evocative voice and resonant lyrics, sung over deceptively complex compositions, are nothing less than haunting."
-Tim Cahill is Founding Editor, Outside Magazine, Contributing Editor, Rolling Stone
"I was spellbound when I heard Wendy Webb put life's emotions into song. Like Loreena McKennitt, her voice is a beautifully played instrument of original music that comes from the heart. Listeners will swear she wrote them just for them."
- Robert N. Macomber, award-winning Florida novelist
“Platinum plated singer-songwriter AOR of the highest order, ...."
FATEA - RECORDS UK
Album: This Is The Moment
Label: Spooky Moon Records
Had I not known otherwise, I could easily have been persuaded that this was some long lost, undiscovered gem from the halcyon era of Laurel Canyon singer-songwriters. Indeed, the opening track, ‘Venus Is Rocking In The Cradle Of the Moon’, prompted a vision of Webb as a female Jackson Browne, with the song conjuring both in its music and lyrics (though the latter are actually by Charles John Quarto), the classic moments of ‘Everyman’ and ‘Late For The Sky’.
It turns out, however, that Webb, who’s surely related to Jim by talent if not by blood, comes from Iowa and, now based in Florida, this is her fourth, having released her debut in 2003. Listening further, while Browne remains a reference point - and an acknowledged influence - closer comparisons would be to Carole King (especially on the sax stained ‘Western Channel Of The Sky’), Joni Mitchell, Laura Nyro and the now sadly largely forgotten Wendy Waldman, although, having said that, there’s definite touches of ‘Moondance’ warm soul Morrison to ‘This Is The Moment’ and the lovely You’re My Friend’.
Working in an array of musical colors that draws upon folk, pop, jazz, and the blues, and backed by a trio that handles guitars, acoustic bass, percussion, strings and horns while she plays piano and occasional acoustic guitar, her superbly modulated voice rises and falls across songs that, ripe with nature imagery, address relationships, dreams and vignettes of America.
‘Florida’ itself is a piano led love letter to her adopted home, but the state also figures in the sea-themed ‘Homespun’, which (with a piano line evocative of Roy Bittan’s work for Springsteen) references Sanibel and the Everglades as she sings “I comb the beach of consequence, I calibrate the waves, I christen every ghost ship that forever freed the slaves.” There’s a wider vista to ‘Big Blue Sky’ as she puts aside “the prisons of the past” heads out across America in company with the ghosts of Kerouac and Cash, visiting “the western shore where I was born” and the river that flows from New Orleans to the Gulf of Mexico.
The sea washes up too on the heady reminiscences of love in the quivering vocal, classical guitar-accompanied melancholic blues 'I Will Remember' (a touch of Janis Ian here, perhaps) and the piano-backed mood picture of ‘Long Day In The Sun’ where, “salt sweat on my skin”, she sings of the ocean and the miracle of life.
There’s not a remotely weak track here, but, along with ‘Venus’, I’m particularly taken with ‘All The Boys On Saturday’, a sepia-toned meditation on years past and lost innocence with its lines about bored young boys and darling dancing girls heading for the downtown ballrooms seeking the tenderness of a first caress and “chasing dreams down the boulevard”. Platinum plated singer-songwriter AOR of the highest order, had Webb indeed been around in the early 70’s, she too might be a legend now. I see no reason why that can’t start here.
GERMANY - This Is The Moment
MUSIC AND SUCH
Well, that's a positive discovery once! Quickly, we usually notice after some of the songs, whether one encounters artists that speak their voice, can handle it, be it in terms of the design, the individuality or other features.
Wendy Webb can sing really well, she uses her mood perfectly, sometimes I wish it but a little more in the foreground, for the one or the other instrument shoving himself but then and when in the foreground.
In addition is positive, that the music immediately forced to listen, Yes, she shapes up spontaneously, she looks attractively, and arouses strong associations with colleagues such as Joni Mitchell and Carole King with me, and it resonates with a lot of those feelings that singer/songwriters of the seventies coined certain panels of genre, full of poetic and simply beautiful-sounding elements.
This album is the fourth of the singer living now in Florida, pianist, songwriter, and guitarist from Iowa, after the debut of the year 2003, "Morning In New York". It is rich in emotional expression, very impressed has for example "You're My Friend", particularly appropriate is also a saxophone is aptly used in this context, to hear for example on "Western Channel Of The Sky".
The song accompanied only with a guitar is very nice "I Will Remember", very powerful in her intimate and simple accompaniment, the recorded with piano accompaniment ""Florida" is a declaration of love for the homeland and is one of the highlights of this disc, which is filled with wonderful melodies and radiates tremendous harmony." Actually, there are no weak song, the music emits a concentrated positive force as a unit.
00 to 05*not recommend
06 to 10*with (large) Restrictions recommend
11 to 15*(mainly for fans) recommend
16 to 18*very recommendable
19 to 20*Star Performer
WENDY WEBB – THIS IS THE MOMENT
Written In Music ( journalist - Cis Van Looy) - Netherlands - Translation
"Wendy Webb is an excellent singer and an equally excellent pianist. That leads to very beautiful ballad work. that at moments to Carole King reminds as the title song unequivocally illustrates....."
4 stars (of 5) —— Review under POP
10 december 2015
This Is The Moment
Moors Magazine -Netherlands
" This lady made a album of absolute world class. An absolute must."
February 11 ,2016
WENDY WEBB "This Is The Moment"
I was thinking that this was nice country rock as the album started, but Wendy Webb had a few tricks up her sleeve. Her vocals had some surprising soulful qualities and the backing musicians enhanced this ever so subtly. The brass helped out and the rhythm players could swing just enough. The organ was also prevalent throughout and was a welcome addition to the basic expected instrumentation. Webb is originally from Iowa, but now lives in Florida and I would imagine those diverse environments certainly help the creative juices flow when it comes to song writing. At least based on what I am hearing, there is enough creativity coming from somewhere, as these songs are quite good.
# 59 March 2016
ROOTSVILLE - Blues, Jazz, & Roots
BELGIUM - March 2016
'Big Blue Sky' is a beauty of an Americana song.
...Wendy Webb creates her own poetic sound. Tracks like opener 'Venus Is Rocking In The Cradle Of The Moon' and 'My Beatng Heart', immediately says that Wendy Webb's the heart in the right place. All lyrics are steeped in emotions and accompanied by beautiful music which you do dream repeatedly as with 'Homespun'.
(Dutch to English translation)
"This is a fine record and the mark of a gifted, mature and talented artist. "
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2016 AT 09:22AM
Webb is a very accomplished singer-songwriter ...with a wonderfully rich voice .....song arrangements are very much in a contemporary Folk style and are filled with superb playing, excellent melody and rhythm....elements of jazz and blues incorporated into the rich production by Danny Morgan and John McLane, which is bright and full of space for the musicians to stretch their talents.
The sweet, moody flow of tracks like My Beating Heart, Homespun, All the Boys on Saturday and I Will Remember set the atmosphere into one of gentle seduction and a knowing empathy with the melting pot of life.
Big Blue Sky is her road song about striking out for the horizon and letting life unfold along the way. Long Day in the Sun closes the record in fine style with the lines; ‘But I believe in the miracle of my life; loving endlessly, I’m forever free’. This is a fine record and the mark of a gifted, mature and talented artist.
STRUTTER MAGAZINE ...Melody Central
Holland January 2016
written by Gabor Kleinbloesem, Editor of Strutter
"Wendy Webb delivers a lovely 4th album....beautiful voice and songs that take you back to the innocence of the 1970s when this kind of music was very common on the radio...the album feels very natural from start to finish... high quality release."
... high-class repertoire, sung with extreme grace and poetry, evocative and heartfelt."
April 7, 2016
"This Is The Moment" (from the title, significant) can establish a consecration in Europe too, thanks to a high- class repertoire, sung with extreme grace and poetry, evocative and heartfelt. "Western Channel Of The Sky" looks like something out of "Famous Blue Raincoat", historical tribute to Leonard Cohen by Jennifer Warnes in the 1980s, one of the most intense moments of the album, sung with great pathos and a sax that paints painful notes but fascinating. ”All The Boys On Saturday" see Wendy Webb alone at the top in another interpretation to be framed, pure poetry. Yet to emphasize the magnificent melody of "Big Blue Sky", inspiring.....
REVIEWS - THIS IS THE MOMENT - album
FATEA - RECORDS - UK - Jan. 2017
"Wendy Webb pushes her way into the first group of international musicians in the field of singer / songwriter.
Every single song is a gem in itself.."
Every single song is a gem in itself....so it is hard for me to sing a favorite song. This is music in the best tradition of the seventies, as it was once created by Carole King or Joni Mitchell. For me, Wendy Webb clearly belongs to this group of female songwriters, because the level is very high.
RATING 19 (of 20)
GERMANY - Musik An Sich - Jan. 2017
BENELUX - Muziekwereld - Jan. 2017
"Step Out Of Line is one of the best Americana albums of recent times ....a must". "Special attention to the title track with a brilliant trumpet solo by Wayne Jackson, as well as the sublime song 'Freedom'."
RATING 9.5 (of 10)
GERMANY - Hoer.Test - Cooltourist Jan. 2017
"Imagine the intersections of Carole King, Bonnie Raitt and Laura Nyro ...special magic. Definite insider tip in today's wide field of female singer-songwriters!"
Wendy Webb artfully returned to the 70s, when the first women in the singer / songwriter scene attracted attention. Who can imagine the intersections of Carole King, Bonnie Raitt and Laura Nyro is at Wendy Webb on the right track. Their nostalgic Westcoast Laurel canyon sound is still a special magic - not least thanks to their intense voice and their tasteful accompaniment to the electric piano and the acoustic guitar
hearing can be blocked by the usual radio feed. Definite insider tip in today's wide field of female singer-songwriters!
Step Out Of Line
BENELUX - Muziekwereld - Feb. 2017
Wendy Webb grew up in Iowa as a child of a large family and finds herself at a young age interested in music, partly because of the presence in the house of an old piano. When she first heard the voice of Dusty Springfield Wendy knew that she wanted to become a singer. Her father bought her album Dusty and her mother gave her a gift of a Joan Baez Songbook with classic English ballads. When Wendy left home at a later age, the records of Laura Nyro and Joni Mitchell were her constant companions. In addition, Wendy was greatly inspired by lyrics of Leonard Cohen, Robbie Robertson, John Lennon, Jackson Browne and Bob Dylan, but also the Philadelphia Sound, Bill Evans and the genius of Miles Davis.
For Wendy Webb is important to hit the listener with her songs in an intimate way as they sing to you in your living room. For writing her lyrics and composing songs Wendy pulls back preferably locked in a room with the door closed. Which ended its space more or less "sacred" in its search for the right lyrics and poetry from behind her piano. In the course of her career was her collaboration with Nashville-based lyricist Charles John Quarto very important. They exchange songs and lyrics together, and the completion of a resulting hit song was to say Wendy are not feasible either had gone just get to work. It should also be mentioned in this biography by Wendy Webb her collaboration with producer / songwriter Mark Keller. That fruitful cooperation already plays from its first album Morning In New York (2003) and also its end in December 2016 released latest album Step Out Of Line Keller made a significant contribution, both as a producer and songwriter. Other albums by Wendy Webb are: This Is The Moment (2015), Edge Of Town (2012) and Moon On Havana (2010). The criticisms of her five albums were always fine, but Wendy Webb proved to be even more growth on her last two albums, and especially her latest album Step Out Of Line was showered with rave reviews, so too on this site Muziekwereld: http: //www.muziekwereld.com/wendy_webb.1.htm
Muziekwereld review of This Is The Moment: http://www.muziekwereld.com/wendy_webb.htm
BELGIUM - KEYS & CHORDS - Feb 2017
"Wendy Webb is a master at writing ballads.
Deliciously spicey... endearing... breathtaking... sublime. An album that holds your attention."
Wendy Webb is a master at writing ballads. Her beautiful, slightly melancholic-sounding voice is perfect for this work. (4 stars)
BELGIUM - ROOTSVILLE - Blues, Jazz & Roots - Feb 2017
"...with a mix of blues, jazz and folk interwoven into Americana.....what follows are excellent ballads with great feeling as the beautiful 'Mexico'. "... we are again more than overcome by Wendy Webb her angelic voice and poignant lyrics".
Westcoast Rende-Vous - FRANCE - posted by Arnaud Leger -Feb 2017
“Her previous album ‘This Is The Moment’ made us write our best possible poetry to describe the beauty of the songs that Wendy Webb had collected on that cd. Similar, but maybe even more positive words can be used now to describe the quality of the songs on her new fifth album “Step Out Of Line’. Better, however, is that you get yourself convinced about this by listening to it and enjoying every single minute of that glorious experience.”
Wendy Webb: with such an alliterative name on the cover of a CD makes us only more curious about what this blonde American singer-songwriter will offer us on her new album "Step Out Of Line". We can all give right away that this has become surprisingly good music that has been summarized into ten songs Wendy Webb with an arsenal recorded with musicians in Nashville, Tennessee.
Nine of those ten Wendy Webb songs are original compositions that emerged from an intensive collaborative album with producer Mark Keller. The only song that has not been done by both is the beautiful song "Girl From The North Country" (see video). This is a composition of Bob Dylan in 1963 and can be found on his album "The Freewheelin 'Bob Dylan", which are also classics "Blowin' In The Wind", "A Hard Rain's A Gonna Fall" and "Don't Think Twice , It's All Right "were heard for the first time.
With this choice of Dylan's song as a cover late Wendy Webb also immediately look deep into her questions regarding her musical role model and favorite music. "Step Out Of Line" is her fifth album since she debuted in 2003 with "Morning In New York." The folk and country songs on the album showcase her skills as a songwriter, but also as a singer of these songs.
At the best tracks on this record we charge opener "Talk to Me," album title track and folk ballad "Step Out Of Line" with a brilliant trumpet solo by the legendary Wayne Jackson, last year's deceased founder of the famous "Memphis Horns" and the sensitive "Destiny's Muse" which Jim Horn plays saxophone, who has previously played with The Beatles, John Denver and Garth Brooks.
During the second half of this record, we still are listening as intently to the songs "Magician Holiness," a handsome piano ballad, and the intimate song "In The Night" where Wendy Webb accompanies herself with just an acoustic guitar in hand . On the Dylan cover she plays electric piano which makes for a wonderful piece of music with Dan Dugmore on pedal steel and on the closing track "Where Are We Going Now, My Love" we hear next to her electric piano just a very beautiful sound coming from the cello which Jonathan Yudkin plays. Fine image, the new Wendy Webb CD. Do not doubt especially to be convinced ASAP them yourself.
(Valsam) Valère Sampermans
BELGIUM - ROOTSTIME - Feb 2017
I discovered the Iowa-born Webb last year, some way into her career, with the release of her fourth studio album, “This Is The Moment”, and was instantly smitten with her evocation of the classic era of laurel canyon. The arrival of this, her latest, was, then to say the least, a moment of unexpected delight and one which doesn’t disappoint.
Recorded at a house in Nashville and featuring such stellar musicians as guitarist David Grissom, pedal steel maestro Dan Dugmore, bassist David Pomeroy, drummer Ron Krasinski and Memphis Horns veteran Wayne Jackson on trumpet. It is perhaps bluesier and with a jazzier feel in places than its predecessor, getting underway with the smoulderingly moody “Talk To Me’, one of several hesitant love songs (“I know love can come with a cost, but you play your hand or you just lost”), the only track on which she’s backed by the tight combo of Larry Chaney (guitar), Vince Santoro (drums), Dennis Matkosky on keys (which at one point sound like a flute) and celebrated bassist Willie Weeks.
The title track, one of several co-written with producer Mark Keller, marks Jackson’s contribution, his trumpet adding a late night urban noir feel to a song taking not being locked into self-limiting procrastination and taking chances by looking inside yourself to “go where you’ve never been, go down the road within.”
The five-minute “Freedom” is another late night atmospheric groove, her voice soaring bluesily against a simple acoustic guitar pattern burnished by Grissom’s electric notes and Mark Jordan on organ as she sings about not losing your soul, life and freedom to the dot com rat race. If you can hear Laura Nyro and Joni Mitchell, there is, on occasion, also a touch of Joan Baez about her vocals, particularly so on her steel and electric piano accompanied cover of Dylan’s “Girl From The North Country”, the folksiest track here. Interestingly, there’s hints of vintage Broadway balladry to be heard on the yearningly sung love song “Destiny’s Muse”, Jim Horn providing early hours sax, a theatrical influence that also informs the warm and soulful “Mexico”, essentially a musical travel brochure number for lovers about getting away from it all, unwinding and chilling out on the beach and hanging out with the locals.
Those familiar with her early work will recognize “Camden Town” (Retro music in the street, leather on parade”), a revisiting from her “Moon On Havana” album, given a lengthier playing time and fuller arrangement with organ and electric guitar bringing a funkier feel. “Magician Holiness” is a simpler affair, Webb again accompanying herself on electric piano on the album’s most overtly political number as, addressing corporate culture and spin, she sings how “In the home of the brave, the pharaohs hire the slaves, In the land of the free, the pharaohs choose what to see.”
Sandwiching the Dylan cover at the end of the album, first comes the folksy acoustic picked “In The Night”, another with Baez echoes, a love song with metaphorical overtones, featuring just Webb on guitar and David Hungate’s acoustic bass. With double tracked vocals and just electric piano and cello, it closes with the hymnal quality of “Where Are We Going Now, My Love”, an uplifting song of optimism in the face of the gathering storm and encroaching darkness, of escaping back to “the fields where we were born” and “the stream that met our thirst.” It may not have been written with the spectre of a Trump presidency in mind, but it strikes a particularly timely and resonant note. There’s a mellow, warm intimacy about the album that will wrap itself around you, invite it in and feel the glow.
*****(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’
"…This is Premier Division song writing. Add to that a glorious voice and faultless production-values, this has all the hallmarks of a winner indelibly etched into it, from the get-go".
That voice, shivers down the spine time on every track."
One of the best female voices I have laid ears on in a very long time. Her mahoosively gorgeous album 'Step Out Of Line'... this really is an album that needs to be heard by many. When you hear it, you can thank me later…
The voice. The voice. No, not that TV talent show with the spinning red chairs and the mad as a box of frogs Will.i.am. No, I am talking about the discovery of one of the best female voices I have laid ears on in a very long time.
Introducing Ms. Wendy Webb and her mahoosively gorgeous album, “Step Out Of Line.” She certainly cannot be accused of doing that across this inspirational 10-track gem. See what I did there? The uber-talented American singer-songwriter has a crystal clear purity and a soothing delivery; her tone lends itself to be compared to the likes of Joni Mitchell, Emmylou Harris and for me, Judy Collins, in timbre and tone. And in sheer quality and class, too.
Shivers down the spine time on every track. I cannot believe I had not heard any of her music before this release, and I read in the PR blurb that she has dropped four albums ahead of this one. I shall definitely be dipping into that back catalogue, pronto.
Who is she? An Iowa girl, from a big family who owned an old upright piano. Dusty Springfield’s voice coming over the radio airwaves lit the flame inside Wendy, to pursue singing as a career. Her Dad bought her the Dusty record and a guitar, and her Mum got her a Joan Baez songbook of classic English ballads. Ms Wendy taught herself to play guitar and piano.
After leaving home, spinning Laura Nyro and Joni Mitchell albums further emphasised a burning desire to be a singer. After a move to L.A, Wendy ran into Joni Mitchell’s engineer, Henry Lewy, who offered her studio time and some valuable mentoring. This was a gift in her apprenticeship and learning curve as a recording artist. She now lives on Sanibel Isand, Florida and has performed across the USA, Cuba, Paris and more.
The new record gives us nine original songs, plus a haunting electric piano rendition of Bob Dylan’s ‘Girl From The North Country’, a stunning tribute that pays homage to her Midwestern roots. The album was written in Nashville, and recorded in a private house in Music City with her co-writer and producer Mark Keller, and a stellar cast of Nash Vegas’ major league players. Legendary musicians Wayne Jackson (R.I.P.) of the Memphis Horns, David Grissom, Mark T Jordan, Willie Weeks and Dan Dugmore were on the team. As it was a house in town, busy studio session players stopped by after their day sessions to play on what Wendy originally thought would be “artful demos”.
But when she heard fabulous moments such as Wayne Jackson, founding member of the iconic Memphis Horns, blowing a stunning trumpet solo on the title cut, in the living room. Sax legend Jim Horn blowing the house down on ‘Destiny’s Muse’, in the dining room, she began to realise that these were far from just demo sessions. Wendy sang and played piano on Dylan’s ‘Girl From The North Country’ live in the living room and Dan Dugmore added the blissful pedal steel solo. It really was a case of “Wendy’s in da house” and she’s brought along some fabulous house guests too!”
It is ‘a given’ that the musicianship is top drawer and her vocal really is something very special. Had the material been “good”, these master craftsmen (and woman) could have sprinkled some magic dust on top and probably made good songs into very good songs. As it is; the material would stand up on its own in raw voice and guitar/voice and piano format, of that I am positive.
Even before the guys got hold of the charts and got to grips with the mysterious and unique Nashville numbers system (Google it!) and graced the tracks with their skills. But this is Premier Division song writing. Add to that a glorious voice and faultless production-values, this has all the hallmarks of a winner indelibly etched into it, from the get-go.
Like the very best artists who lift words off the page and do not just sing ‘em, but make an emotional and spiritual connection between those words and you the listener, Wendy is a trader of the lost art; making it sound like she’s in the room with you, singing just to you and for you. Think of James Taylor and how he can do that on everything he sings. That voice, shivers down the spine, creating a rare intimacy.
Wendy Webb does that too. Seemingly with ease. Do not underestimate that art. Not one Nano-second where the feeling dips or tails off. Another thing I do not take for granted, having been reviewing music for nigh on four decades; is the art of assembling the tracks of an album in exactly the right order; so they fit together next to each other seamlessly, so the thing flows at the right pace.
Taking you on that journey as smoothly as possible. The quality control filter of what makes the final cut on a record and what you leave off, and the positioning of the tracks, can make or break the impact of an album for me. The difference between an ‘even listen’ and a bumpy ride; where you might want to fast forward now and again. None of that here. In these days of cherry-picking odd tracks for download and streaming, instead of listening to a full body of work as a complete album, that skill of track listing is perhaps not seen as important any more. Well, it is. Even though Wendy’s voice is a strong one, perhaps there is also a wee touch of fragility and vulnerability about it. Maybe it is her natural vibrato that does that.
As our venerable columnist Alan Cackett discusses in his latest (March) column, “Off The Record with Alan Cackett,” this month (see our Features Zone), people bandy about the label “Americana” these days as often as Trump changes his mind about his policies, or “alternative facts” as we may like to call them. That label of “Americana” has been hung around this singer’s neck and been said about this album. For me; it is American, but not really Americana. It is not pure country and nor is it folk. Maybe this really is “World Music.” It is music, of course, and it truly deserves to be heard worldwide. She knows exactly who she is and there’s no hint of trend chasing or being dictated to by the suits. File under “wow”.
Track four, “Destiny’s Muse” is achingly beautiful. Lump in the throat time, prompted by that emotion-soaked vocal and the weeping pedal steel part. A stunning song and vocal performance to match. The steel and sax licks are the icing on a very moreish cake. The sparseness of the production values, with Wendy’s vocal sat on top of just the electric piano, is spot on. The following cut, “Mexico,” is very Joni – another electric piano cut. Such an innately sweet vocal.
“Camden Town” is Sheryl Crowe territory. A ditty about London’s trendy and hippy Camden market. I love that place and have lost myself there for many hours over several decades of visiting. The harmony vocals are sublime. It’s got a bit of a Neil Young ‘Harvest Moon’ vibe to it. Cracking track with some lovely grunged-up West Coast guitar licks from David Grissom. A song she re-visits from her “Moon On Havana” album, and extends the running time for this version and a fatter arrangement.
Wendy’s previous album was called “This Is The Moment”. I think that title actually sums up this record better. Not so much a job, as a calling; you can really hear that here. I know that us music writers can get a tad verbose sometimes, and prone to gush once in a while; urging readers to “grab a copy now….”. But this really is an album that needs to be heard by many. When you hear it, you can thank me later…
***** 5 stars
UK - MUSIC REPUBLIC MAGAZINE - 3-11-2017
Jan 22, 2018
Wendy Webb – Step Out Of Line
"An all star line up of musicians and it shows. Strong voice, soulful with a touch of country, with a plus that it doesn’t immediately remind me of anyone else, and the self penned material holds up well, with strong melodies and hooks, and she makes the one cover her own. Another one who does her own bvs to create a great blend. Class act!"
“Wendy Webb is an otherworldly talent, her writer's gift for lyricism as rare as the beauty she and her music possess.”
- Peter Matthiessen, Author, co-founder of The Paris Review, he is the only writer to have won the National Book Award in both fiction and nonfiction.
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More Reviews and Quotes from previous albums - USA
"Morning In New York"
"Moon On Havana"
"Edge Of Town"
Album: Silver Lining
Label: Spooky Moon
In a just world, Webb's name would be spoken alongside such greats as Mitchell, King, Ian and Nyro, her music evoking the timeless soulful classic sound of 70s Laurel Canyon and New York lofts. This is her sixth album and one couched in laid back, early hours tones tinged with shades of folk, jazz and blues, getting underway with the dreamy piano ballad 'This Is Love', her voice flowing through the lyrics like honey, faint echoes of Wedding Bell Blues ringing in the distance. She brings a Latin sway, Spanish guitar and Ian colours to 'Old Blue Panama', a co-write with poet and spiritual teacher Charles John Quatro, its rhythm and melody reflecting the relaxed, at one with the cosmos vibe to such lyrics as "The way an oyster gathers pearls/And the wind taught me to listen/So I'm a willing grinning victim/In the lunar system".
The tempo ups slightly for another dip into romantic waters with 'Love Is Gonna Treat You Right' ("All the clouds are gone from my eyes/Now that we belong it's no surprise/That I'm gonna love you all my life…We're gonna have a house by the bay/And we can be alone every day") before easing into a contemplative piano-accompanied cover of the Lerner/Loewe evergreen 'I've Grown Accustomed To Your Face' from My Fair Lady, her vocals no such much singing as caressing the lyrics.
A roll of cymbals introduces the electric piano backed 'Jasmine Nights', enfolded in the sort of country soul fragrances Bonnie Raitt brought to her cover of 'I'm Blowin' Away' that do indeed make you want to go out 'Dancin' in the moonlight' as she softly reflects on "words that I've said/Those broken ties and scattered lives and I can't forget", the reference to jasmine not the only thing that calls Seals & Croft's 'Summer Breeze' to mind.
Leaning on the deeper piano notes, 'Timeless Love' is a late night jazzy gospel blues that you could hear Billie Holiday singing, the Latin textures returning as undercurrents on 'I've Never Been To Argentina', which offsets the limits of her globetrotting with having deeply explored the continent of love.
John McLane's horns burnish the lazing 'Rhythm Of Your Love' which imagines what vintage Van Morrison might sound like filtered through a Janis or early Joni lens before Cowboy Eddie Long sits on dobro for the slow walking country gospel 'Blue Skies On The Way', her voice riding the vocal range as she sings how "my heartaches have all been replaced/By the sweet words you said today" and that "many lessons I have learned/But it's love that's always come first".
Backed by electric piano, 'Children on the Blue' was written for her father about growing up "With eyes that open wide/In the stories that you told/In the memories that you hold", of leaving the nest ("So I sailed off on my own/Far away from home") and of the legacy she carries with her ("So now your path we would borrow/Set on a course for tomorrow/This part of me is a part of you").
Driven by McClane's drum and again with punching horns, it ends with the uptempo, rhythmically rolling along title track which, as it suggests, is all about looking on the bright side and seeing opportunities whenever "the road got strange" with "every new turn a tale unknown" and for "All the games that people play" to "keep remembering/Every bit of luck that came my way". She does indeed look at clouds from both sides now.
One for perhaps a more seasoned listening audience, but if your collection includes any or all of New York Tenderberry, Blue, Tapestry or Aftertones, then this really should be filed alongside them.
Mike Davies - UK - FATEA RECORDS