“This is definitely AOR/MOR fare done right.”
“Previous albums have deservedly earned her comparisons to Joni Mitchell and Emmylou Harris, to my mind: more the latter than the former, but there's a goodly measure of Van Morrison tossed in—especially catch the title track for that—and some Carole King (“Western Channel of the Sky”) as well as the sweetest parameters of Dan Fogelberg.”
“Boys on Saturday” gives away her true roots in the classics of the 60s/70s era and modernized madrigal. It's a song that belongs in a recital hall, not an arena or tavern, something to be contemplated as literate song crafting transcending norms, art refusing to be nailed to an epoch or era. The Eagles-y “Big Blue Sky” returns to the AOR oeuvre, but “Boys” sticks in the mind all through the rest of the disc.
- Mark S. Tucker - FAME - March 2015
More Reviews and Quotes from previous albums - USA
“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
Site Content, Photographs and Music Copyright © 2017 Wendy Webb. All Rights Reserved.
“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.
" 'This Is The Moment owns eleven gems and I emphasize the word 'gem'. Right from the first track, the brilliant "Venus Is Rocking In The Cradle Of The Moon ', we immediately get a first real impression of her qualities as a composer but also her blessed voice definitely provides an extra dimension. "
KEYS & CHORDS
ALBUM REVIEW - translation to English
THIS IS THE MOMENT
More and more we receive work from artists that we really do not know or have barely heard of.
This is obviously a very positive development but we must remain attentive and not after a short listening session immediately declare that we have listened to a masterpiece again.
Strangely enough, we can say that out of Iowa, USA, but now resident in Florida, Wendy Webb has released 'This Is The Moment', her fourth album.
In 2010, she debuted with the unknown to me 'Morning in New York, "which was followed by several live albums in 2012 and followed her' Edge Of Town '.
Her music made me quite often reminiscent of the early works by Jackson Browne and in some songs come at times Norah Jones but also a young Joni Mitchell into play.
In her locker with trophies we find the prizes won in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, but also the honors of the Lilith Fair Songwriting Competition. So definitely a lady who knows what she is doing.
Apart from a few completely sold out concerts in her own country, one could already admire her in Cuba and Paris (France).
"This Is The Moment" owns eleven gems and I emphasize the word 'gem'.
In order to make this album she got studio help from musicians John McLane (keys, bass, drums, brass and electric and acoustic guitar), Danny Morgan plays additional electric and acoustic guitar riffs while Jay Heavilin adds acoustic bass.
Right from the first track, the brilliant "Venus Is Rocking In The Cradle Of The Moon ', we immediately get a first real impression of her qualities as a composer but also her blessed voice definitely provides an extra dimension. We almost hear a young Joni Mitchell. "This Is The Moment", the title track of her new disc, you immediately get the feeling of goosebumps. Webb knows how enormously much emotion in her songs should be intertwined. Many dream of success but unfortunately not succeed there. The orchestration here, but on the other tracks, is subtle, only serves to support Wendy's fragile voice. Even the trumpet and other brass instruments fill a worthy backing without being anywhere overconfident.
Beautiful piano sounds put the splendid "My Beating Heart 'and if you then overwhelmed emotionally is with these words:" If your arms would reach for me, I'd stagger to your touch, and free my beating heart That loves you so much. "What you can add to it then? Just beautiful, no? "I Will Remember" they put themselves in with the acoustic guitar and the rest of this beautiful ballad floats upon a cloud of beautiful guitar sounds. On 'Western Channel Of The Sky' we clearly hear influences from Carole King and perhaps we may well regard it as the new King? She has the talent and if you look closely at the arrangements of each song listen you will agree with me on this.
The disc is a statement of how listening music should sound: the real human warmth comes in first place, and the lyrics are trapped in very clever structured melodic lines. Digging deep storylines leave a lasting impression.
We only her possibly can rub is perhaps the lack of diversity, but in fairness, the line of these melodies may not actually be incompetent interrupted by uptempo beats, or other conditions that the whole of the longplayer could perhaps bring it to a totally different level. Well done Wendy!
Alfons Maes (5)
“Her strength is as a lyricist. Her gentle stories create pictures with words and when set to well conceived and structured melodies, there are deep textures to be explored.”
- David Bowling - Cashbox March 24, 2015
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
Written by Cis van Looy on 12-10-2015
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
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.
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.."
She sings with a very harmonious voice, is very secure in the design, can take back, sing powerful, and always radiates a tremendous warm mood.
It is a special moment to round off this enjoyment when suddenly, suddenly, as from the nothingness, additional shaping factors, such as the Title song, when the professionally played trumpet of Wayne Jackson appears ...Wayne Jackson of the Memphis Horns.
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
Dutch Blog - Music That Needs Attention - Jan 13, 2017
"Wendy.. is the icing on the cake. She is one of the few singers who managed to get me really deep. Especially in a song like Freedom, but mostly in Mexico."
Of course it is my fault, I've never heard before of this great singer. Unfortunately I did not read the review on Rootstime in December 2015 about the apparently excellent predecessor This Is the Moment. There has been mention by the way that made the brand new disc Step Out of Line. On the previous CD is only used three other musicians, this new one is more ambitious in scope, because this time does Wendy appeal to fourteen colleagues. somewhere in the credits listed the following line at the rear of the wonderful booklet: "To the musicians who stopped by the house to play, your artful Contributions are timeless." And that statement is quite right. Great musicians like Wayne Jackson (Memphis Horns), David Grissom, Mark T Jordan, Willie Weeks and Dan Dugmore decorating include the songs. The song arrangements are invariably beautiful and subtle. As found on the predecessor there are elements of folk, jazz, blues and pop. In the title track may excel trumpet Wayne Jackson. 'Destiny's Muse' is the turn to Jim Horn to shine on sax. But it is the song of Wendy, who is the icing on the cake. She is one of the few singers who managed to get me really deep. Especially in a song like Freedom, but mostly in Mexico. Six of the ten songs she wrote with co-producer Mark Keller and three only. The last three tracks are the most sober and here comes her voice perhaps more justice. Only alone on acoustic guitar and bass, they will be guided by 'In the Night'. The striking cover of Bob Dylan's 'Girl from the North Country' accompaniment consists only of electric piano and pedal steel. And perhaps last but not least, 'Where Are We Going Now, My Love'. Over cello and electric piano is not necessary. The songs are about love, dreams, hope, desire and freedom. 'Mexico' and 'Camden Town' she wrote on the occasion of visits to Mazatlan and Camden Town (UK). Unfortunately, this beautiful album only on sale or through CDBaby at herself.
- Theo Volk
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'."
Step Out Of Line is the fifth studio album Born in Iowa and raised and now from Florida resident Wendy Webb. Were her previous albums already of very good quality, this is by far her best. Special attention to the title track with a brilliant trumpet solo by Wayne Jackson, as well as the sublime song Freedom. Step Out Of Time is one of the best Americana albums of recent times and therefore a must for fans of the genre.
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 has made her debut on her journey from Sanibel Island (Florida) to Nashville to record songs in the house of Mark Keller, of which ten are now on the CD "Step Out Of Line" To be heard. It's nine self-compositions and a Bob-Dylan cover ("Girl From North Country" - not quite un-autobiographical, because Wendy grew up in Iowa!). With her music, 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. For this, she has been invited to invite renowned musicians to a night shift; The result are brilliant solos by Wayne Jackson (tp), Jim Horn (sax), David Grissom (g), Dan Dugmore (pedal steel), Mark T. Jordan (keyb) and David Hungate (b). If you have not been spellbound after the first three songs (and especially from the title song), the 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."
Singer / songwriter Wendy Webb releases "Step Out Of Line ', her fifth album, which she and Mark Keller share recording and production. Born in Iowa, Webb taught herself to play guitar and piano. After moving to Los Angeles, she was fortunate to meet Henry Lewy, who worked with Joni Mitchell. Lewy taught her the basics of the recording technique.
An impressive array of musicians came through the Aberdeen home studio in Nashville, where the recording of "Step Out Of Line" took place. Among them, the last year deceased trumpeter Wayne Jackson, member of The Mar-Keys and The Memphis Horns, renowned session saxophonist Jim Horn, heard on recordings that include Duane Eddy, John Denver, George Harrison and the Stones, and keyboardist Mark T. Jordan who has worked with Walter Trout, Rick Vito, Tom Jones, Dave Mason, Bonnie Raitt and Van Morrison. Enough great musicians to create an unusual album "Step Out Of Line".
From the ballad 'Talk To Me' Webb emerges indeed as a singer who knows the ropes. Especially in the higher echelons she knows how to score. The jazzy trumpet of Wayne Jackson adds spice to the title track, the walk paths not obvious, deliciously spicy. Stepping off the treadmill of the hectic life, Wendy sings with some nervous guitars, sublime in 'Freedom'. 'Camden Town' triumphs with an endearing guitar solo by David Grissom. When Webb sits behind the electric piano, her moving performance, supported by Dan Dugmore's pedal steel, is a breathtaking version of Dylan's "Girl From The North Country".
Wendy Webb is a master at writing ballads. Her beautiful, slightly melancholic-sounding voice is perfect for this work. (4 stars)
Webb impresses with her beautiful voice, the appropriate instrument for her ballads. An album that holds your attention.
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