Author: Leon Blair
Who? - The Darrell Webb Band, comprised of Darrell Webb (Band Leader, Vocals, Mandolin), Tyler Collins (Vocals, Dobro), Jacob Shelton (Vocals, Bass), Jared Hensley (Vocals, Guitar), and Collins Miller (Banjo). The band is apparently based in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Album Release Date / Producer? - Feb. 10th, 2017 / Jim VanCleve produced their last album, so I'm assuming he produced this as well but I honestly couldn't find this information.
Genre? - Bluegrass
Opinion On The Artist's Discography Overall Up To This Point? - Unfortunately I have not heard any of the band's other albums. However, they also have the following projects available: 2010's Bloodline, 2012's Breaking Down The Barriers, and 2014's Dream Big.
Where Might Other People Know This Act From? - According to their website, the band has earned multiple nominations at the International Bluegrass Music Association Awards. In addition, frontman Darrell Webb has been a part of bands such as Wildfire, Rhonda Vincent and the Rage, and Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper.
Is There Any Sort Of Event Surrounding the Making Of This Album? - Not as far as I know.
Can You Give A Brief Overview Of This New Project? - I have to say, while Country is off to a slower start this year so far, Bluegrass has been delivering some great material to us. Lover's Leap may not be beating out Infamous Stringdusters for my favorite Bluegrass album this year, but if you want an album that's got some great writing, instrumentals, and is just a ton of fun to boot, you got it right here. I won't quite say I'm necessarily blown out of the water by this, but this is an incredibly cohesive album that's all around great.
What Are The High Points / Praiseworthy Elements Of The Project? - Really, I'm at a loss for words for what to say about this album. That's not to insinuate that it's bad or anything, far from it. It's just the type of album that honestly doesn't need a lot of words to describe it. Normally I try to find some overarching theme to connect to the albums I cover here, but there really doesn't seem to be one with this album. Instead, it's just bolstered by some great individual songs.
For example, what else can I really say about the George Strait cover of “If You're Thinkin' You Want A Stranger” other than it's just really damn good? The melody is strong, the lyrics are surprisingly mature, and the instrumentation is solid to boot. Alright, well I guess I could point out that Darrell Webb is a great vocalist, especially for the genre.
Other than that, the album does feature a lot of great writing, and that shines through on the more darker story songs such as the title track that talks of a forbidden love between a farmer and an Indian woman (which doesn't end nicely), or “Mountain Dan” where a son hikes a mountain trial to stand face to face with the father who abandoned him when he was a kid. One of the things I love about Bluegrass music is that it's not afraid to really paint those types of pictures in your mind, delving into imagination at times while also keeping a firm sense of reality as well.
The reality part comes more into play on “Daddy's Drinking Shoes” which speaks of how a father's alcoholism affects his son, or “Diggin'” which speaks of a father who has to work in the coalmine to support his family. “Always On The Move” and “Forty Acre Blues” are moments of levity for the album, especially the latter with the lightning fast picking that occurs. Other than that, I'm really at a loss for what else to say folks. The instrumentation is really good, and the writing holds up. There's also more than enough standouts on the album.
What Are The Low Points / Nitpicks Of The Project? - Much like my praises, my nitpicks aren't really going to be filled with a lot of detail other, mostly because it's just one small overarching nitpick. I will say that while the instrumentation is really good, I did find some of the compositions to be a little basic, seemingly running together after awhile.
Tracks such as the title track or “Mountain Dan” are very dark in their writing, but I can't help but feel the tracks could have benefited from some more minor tones to really drive that darkness home. The same can be said for “Nothing Like A Woman To Bring You Down”, the one track here that's more so just alright to me than anything else. I mean, the man is throwing a fit since his woman cheated on him, but the song is playing things a little too light-hearted to really stick the landing in my mind. Other than that, again, I'm at a loss for what else to say.
Closing Thoughts? - Overall, I really enjoyed the newest album from the Darrell Webb Band. To repeat what I said earlier, the writing is great, the instrumentation is really good, and the album itself is just a cohesive, fun listen as a whole. Again, Bluegrass is doing pretty good so far this year. Let's hope Country and Americana can catch up.
Can You Summarize Who Might Like This Album? - Bluegrass fans (duh, right?)
Are There Any Albums This Reminds You Of? - Not really
Best Song(s)? - “Lover's Leap”, “Always On The Move”, “Mountain Dan”, “Forty Acre Blues”
Worst (Or Weakest) Songs? - “Nothing Like A Woman To Bring You Down”
Where Can I Buy This Album? - http://www.darrellwebbband.com/store/
Even Though You Hate Grades, What You Give This?
For me, I'd give it a...
(Editor's Note - Yes, I know I just said I was getting rid of grades, but after thinking through it, I'd still like to have some sort of ranking system. Therefore, I'm going to try letter grades. Will they last? Probably not but let's at least see, shall we?