A cohesive collection of songs that show a true understanding of what makes Americana great.
“You got the stroll to go / But I was too slow to dance with you / I was angry and now you’re angry too,” come Rich Webb’s words on ‘Blue Wildflowers’, the opening track on his latest release ‘Right!’. The song is not just a mea culpa, but also – and perhaps most importantly – a reminder to himself not to repeat the same mistakes in future relationships; that kind of conviction is echoed throughout all nine tracks on ‘Right!’, all while the breezy cool possessed by Tom Petty runs through them.
‘Love Someone’ sees Webb display some impressive vocal chops, his voice reaching impressive peaks over a background of horns. “It’s not a difficult equation / To love someone,” he offers; although you get the feeling he knows just how challenging a task that can be, encouraging those with shy hearts: “You know the only way you get somewhere / Is to love someone.” On ‘I Don’t Mind at All (Bring on Summer)’, he dreams of lazy days by the water, but he’s more reflecting on past summers than planning future ones (“Looking through the window of my youth / Tent some sort of fortress / Beach never ending / Like the golden sands / We were whistling away”).
While Webb’s vocals sound effortless – and often smoky – that doesn’t stop the contents of his words from being heavy with meaning. In fact, he often quite casually imparts some profound life advice, as is evidenced on ‘You’re Always Here in My Mind’: “Don’t mistake hate for loving / Don’t let them waste your time / Move on long before the lonely nights get long / You’re always here in my mind.” ‘The Last Rowdy Hour’ tells the tale of last call at a bar, all of its inhabitants with their own story, be that “Silent John” the plasterer’s apprentice with “arms like metal bars”, Leon the bartender, or even “Skinny Stella” with her accordion.
The gentle harmonies on ‘Nothing to Lose’ help to elevate the level of feeling in a song that’s all about refusing to give up on a relationship. “I believe in you / And I believe in me / The strength we have is greater than / Everything pulling us down,” Webb insists, determined to work through whatever the problems may be faced. ‘Dead City’ has an almost stadium rock grandeur as he looks at a dead relationship and visits the scene of the crime: “This place is full of wired-up life / And ghosts of where we’ve been / And even the subterranean 365 team / Can’t find the truth within.”
‘Right!’ is more than just an album title to Webb – it’s a word he tells himself when he wants to “get something done”, and he’s made a pretty fine job of this particular project. Sure, he might not always get it 100% right, but he’s never really wrong, either.
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