Give credit to Tommy Webb. He has a way with titles when it comes to picking songs and albums. Following up an album with a song titled “If It Weren’t For Bluegrass Music (I’d Go Crazy),” his latest offering is From Rock-N-Roll To Bill Monroe.
The former title got the Kentucky native Webb some serious action on the BU chart as well as several others in 2010. This is his fourth album in the last six years and is loaded with solid music as well as production values. Super group the Boxcars has fingerprints all over the CD—IBMA’s only multi-instrumental winner, Ron Stewart, produced the project and provided fiddle, banjo, and guitar help; legendary mandolinist Adam Steffey added his instrumental touch; and underrated bass man Harold Nixon kept time on the upright. Webb’s road band is solid in its own right with Chris Goble on banjo, Jarod Doss on mandolin and harmony vocals; and Josh Huff on bass and harmony vocals.
Fans of Webb will be well pleased with the dozen songs and familiar with the sound the guitarist has established over the years. He puts a nice touch on standards such as “High Lonesome” and his rhythmic touch on clawhammer banjo for “Shady Grove” gives listeners a fresh take on a jam session favorite.
However, it is the original tunes that stand apart on this project. The Stewart penned “Time Stands Still,” the title cut written by Webb as well as his other song, “Cold Heart, Cold Feet” certainly distinguish themselves as potential singles. The Alan Johnston written “Mont Coal, W.V.,” about the 29 miners who died in an accident in April 2010, will remind even the most casual observer of ballads from other genres, along the lines of “The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald.”
Up to this point, despite some respectable airplay of a few selected songs, Webb has probably been considered a mostly regional act. “From Rock-N-Roll To Bill Monroe,” with great production values, strong song selection, well-known studio musicians and distinct vocals may very well serve as the album that puts Webb onto a much larger stage. (www.thetommywebbband.com) MB