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Christiaan Webb - A Man Possessed

  by Lisa Torem

published: 17 / 2 / 2012

Christiaan Webb - A Man Possessed
Label: Musicbox Records
Format: CD


Engaging debut solo album from Christiaan Webb, who is both the son of Jimmy Webb and a member of the Webb Brothers.

Before creating his debut release, ‘A Man Possessed’, Christiaan Webb, eldest son of songwriter Jimmy Webb, as well as a member of the Webb Brothers, poured over Don Miguel Ruiz’s book, ‘The Four Agreements’. Webb was captivated by the book’s life-changing “Toltec wisdom”. “This was quite a change for a guy who had been a free wheeling rock- and- roller for eighteen years,” he then stated. The ideas for Webb’s twelve songs came so effortlessly that he claims he “really did feel like ‘a man possessed.” His early songwriting efforts were shared with the public at the beginning of the last decade with the Webb Brothers’ early albums. At the latter part of the decade, he and his siblings toured with their iconic father to support their joint album, ‘Cottonwood Farm’. “Like father, like son,” Christian Webb comes across as a very committed songwriter, who can expertly paint universal themes with precise, engaging sensitivity. Webb admits that he has a strong leaning towards the songs of Harry Nilsson, Billy Joel, John Lennon and Billy Preston, and the album does pay tribute to his heroes. ‘Westward Man’ is the first song. Its honky tonk hook is solidified by Webb’s pioneering spirit, and it is a great introduction to his no-nonsense approach to writing. ‘We’re Under the Same Stars’, an especially Lennonesque ballad, is illuminated by pointed lyrics of “Why can’t I look at the sun?” and “Did I really let you go?” This earnest tune is complemented by organic guitar and evocative backing vocals. In ‘Midnight Moon’, that previously rugged voice, now so expressively fragile, speaks to the solace of failed romance - “I won’t forgive her, she makes me shiver/She makes me wish I was dying.” In ‘My Best Intentions,’ the glue, Webb’s pulsating keyboard riff, underlies his rock solid, classic rock vocals. “I’ve had my wings burned off by the sun and I’ve lived to tell the tale,” he sings convincingly. At this point in the album, it’s clear that Christian Webb’s voice stands rightfully alongside rock vocalists, Huey Lewis and Joe Cocker. ‘Life Support’ is a duet with Angela Gannon (The Magic Numbers) that evolves structurally like a madrigal. Webb, as songwriter, does a superb job of creating exposition: “I have no life support without you…” ‘What If There’s No Afterlife’ is seasoned with clever modulations and a spot on horn interlude. The tune refreshingly heralds a fusion of reggae and funk. ‘Fountain of Youth’ is another heartfelt ballad upon which Craig McDonald’s steely French horn flavours Webb’s innocent quest for redemption - “I want to know if there’s a fountain of youth…a moment of truth.” ‘There’s Nowhere That I’d Rather Be’ is an old-fashioned sonnet, which shows off Webb’s unexpected, sensual crooning, an ornamentation which rises above an imaginative, instrumental build-up. ‘It’s All Over Now’ gets great percussive attention vis a vis Andrew ‘Bernie’ Plain; this song is another one which broadcasts a remarkable fusion. It’s one that Todd Rundgren and the Smoking Popes would put on their iPods. ‘Nostalgia’ is true to its theme: “Things are moving so fast – I want to slow down.” Similarly the gentle, understated lyrics of the airtight stanzas embolden ‘It’s Your Last Night on Earth.’ The 1950s simplicity and carefree 1960s effusion (not to mention a splash of tambourine) come together for the last song, ‘Kids in Love’, another duet with Angela Gannon. If Christiaan Webb continues to travel solo, ‘A Man Possessed’ is all he needs to pack.

Track Listing:-
1 Westward Man
2 We're Under the Same Stars
3 Midnight Moon
4 My Best Intetions
5 Life Support
6 What If There's No After Life
7 Fountain of Youth
8 There's Nowhere That I'd Rather Be
9 It's All Over Now
10 Nostalgia
11 It's Your Last Night On Earth
12 Kids in Love

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