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CD Reviews: Brian Webb
Brian Webb: LIVE
August 2004
By: Sara Zeno
album cover of Brian Webb LIVE

Watching Brian Webb perform is revelatory. From his small, unassuming body emanates a gigantic talent, enveloping everyone present. Blissfully, his newest album entitled LIVE captures this talent. His is a polished, palpable gift for drilling into emotional truths, whether with a gentle light-hearted spirit or a deeper, sensuous attitude

With Product in Your Hair Boys, a silly little song that could easily be part of a standup comic's act, Webb shows he can poke fun at himself alongside those "boys" with abandon. And now you're looking at me and you're like, Brian, you know, you're nothing special / Look at you, up there, scraggly hair, carelessly dressed white boy, playing acoustic guitar / No one's doing that, Brian / You really cornered that market / Found your niche in the privileged white boy acoustic sensitive thing / Good thinking / But still...

Webb is an intoxicating lyricist, pulling forth imagery that makes the heart twinge. Bury your head where my shoulder meets my neck / I will trade a moment of your attention for a lifetime of neglect from Ballad of Her summons romantic longing out of the ether into something nearly visible. His essence shines out on Tobias, a moving song "about a crackhead" that manages to be sorrowful and humorous concurrently. It's also so bluntly honest it forces the listener to confront things mostly ignored. He ends the song saying, Because when it comes to loving someone for real, it's always a lot harder than I wanted it to be.

Webb understands the power of softness, how it can mesmerize and weave magic. On the Leonard Cohen song Hallelujah, love and spirit pour forth from him like moonlight on the ocean. That's Where I'll Be, a song Webb describes as "a little gospel number" is thoughtful and passionate as he ponders the elusive. I just want to feel something / Come crashin' over me / Let it look like belief and feel like desperation / And love, that's where I'll be. With each listen of LIVE, I fall in love with Webb's soul a little more.