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CD Reviews: Brian Webb
Brian Webb: Broken Folk
March 2004
By: Sara Zeno
album cover of Brian Webb's Broken Folk

Like looking into a cracked mirror and seeing infinite versions of self, Brian Webb's Broken Folk peers into the many-faceted soul of love and relationships. Every shard is different, yet none any less genuine than others.

From the distinctive percussive guitar style of the opening track Shame, to the hushed echoes of the closing Not a Confession, Webb investigates the most human of topics with sedate and moving charm. His songs point out that, whatever the end result, the journey of love is tough. At times, the listener can almost see demons at work; others, the insight of wisdom gained by experience.

Webb's voice and music mesh perfectly, creating unique moods for each track. The resonance of violin and mandolin work particularly well on Walk Alone, with their melancholy sound matching the song's muted hope: Just start walking in the morning / And see if we wind up together / I want you to live without regard for me / In the end I think that's better / Just start walking in the morning / And find we walk alone together.

There's a good amount of learned understanding here, as in the stark Talk To You: You search for love / You search for happiness, come to find, there is a difference / Search for wisdom / Search for truth / You find quiet / Maybe it finds you. There's also some astute, wry advice, as with Martha: It's not some kind of contest / That says in the end, if you love someone the most / You will get to keep them.

The catchy melody of Long Way To Go carries the lyrics forward forcefully, giving the impression of healthy movement even during conflict: I believe/ You gotta live like you are loved / And I believe / I've got a long way to go / Before I can love you right. All the musicians are dead on, creating a textured melody with plenty of brass.

In the end, Webb's strikingly honest, soul-baring music will strike a chord with anyone who has ever embraced the desperate yearnings of life. It stays with your heart long after Broken Folk goes quiet.