Bry Webb – Free Will

Bry Webb - Free Will

Artist: Bry Webb
Album: Free Will

Written by: Chiara DiAngelo

Playing a set last summer in the heart of Toronto’s Allan Gardens, Bry Webb said “all punk eventually goes acoustic or country.” Building on 2011’s Provider, the Constantines frontman once again looks inward, exploring an introspective – and often times, pessimistic – existence on second solo album Free Will, which cements Webb as one of Canada’s most treasured musicians. He calls upon Rich Burnett (lap steel, guitar, vocals), Aaron Goldstein (pedal steel), Anna Ruddick (bass, vocals) and Nathan Lawr (drums) who comprise “The Providers” on the album, as well as multiple other guest contributors, to round out the sound.

Webb’s growling wrath is contained in atmospheric, acoustic beauty. Americana and folk-flavoured subtleties weaved into the stripped down simplicity carve their way into your soul. Percussion picks up for upbeat second track “AM Blues,” distortion jarring you from the quiet contemplative haze of “Fletcher.” The sexiness of the lap and pedal steel earns the recognition it deserves on “Prove Me Wrong,” though the cooing female supporting vocals come in a close second. Echoing strains of whistling steel set the tone and rustle up the dust and tumbleweeds of a deserted Wild West on “Policy.”

Though the murmurs of backing instrumentals bristle at the hairs on the back of your neck, it is Webb’s vocals that will them to stand on end. Always one to unravel powerful stories with his words, “Positive People” distils some cold, hard realities of the world, “Let’s Get Through Today” captures a father’s timeless ode to his son, promising protection from a fucked up world, while the minimalistic “What Part of You” offers one of the more powerful lyrics I’ve been hit with in awhile, “I’m going to love the part of you that can’t be saved.” Last song “Free Will” breaks through the quiet solitude of the second half of the album and buzzes to life. The album also contains two bonus tracks – offered as a digital download with CD purchases or a 7” if you buy the record on vinyl.

The kind of performer you just want to curl up seated on the floor and bask in his presence, you can see Webb at Massey Hall, opening for Coeur de Pirate on May 31. If that’s not enough to satiate you, Constantines are reuniting for a string of festival dates over the summer.

Tags: ,

Categories: Recorded


Subscribe to our RSS feed and social profiles to receive updates.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: