Jump to Content

Welcome! You’re browsing the No Depression Archives

No Depression has been the foremost journalistic authority on roots music for well over a decade, publishing 75 issues from 1995 to 2008. No Depression ceased publishing magazines in 2008 and took to the web. We have made the contents of those issues accessible online via this extensive archive and also feature a robust community website with blogs, photos, videos, music, news, discussion and more.

Close This

Miked - Live Reviews from Issue #57 May-June 2005

Jimmy Webb

Blue Door (Oklahoma City, OK), February 27, 2005

This was the return of the prodigal son. Although Jimmy Webb was born in Oklahoma, his musical homecomings haven’t always measured up to his stature as an artist. The Blue Door benefit was different, and special in many ways. On the previous evening, Webb had mesmerized a crowd of more than 400, performing solo at the Center Stage in Oklahoma City with singer Michael Fracasso opening the show. The capacity of the Blue Door is barely 100, and everyone in the building this night was a die-hard Webb fanatic.

The Blue Door is a ramshackle joint that had been badly in need renovations for some time; guitarist Charlie Sexton once said the unsteady venue was “being held up by God.” But between battling city inspectors and fighting to make ends meet, proprietor Greg Johnson has provided Oklahoma City with a unique space to hear real American music. For a decade it has been a refuge for veteran musicians, as well as a haven for young songwriters still developing their craft. Regular performers at the Blue Door have included Jimmy LaFave, Ray Wylie Hubbard and Kevin Welch, to name but a talented few.

Local musicians Mary Reynolds and Louise Goldberg opened the benefit show with an impressive songbook of jazz, blues, folk and country. Reynolds even celebrated the Blue Door’s addition of a second bathroom with a loving refrain of “At Last”. But this was Jimmy Webb’s night: His Oklahoma family and friends lined the front row, and a grand piano, imported for the occasion, dominated the club’s tiny stage.

After acknowledging Johnson, the Blue Door and the important service venues like this provide, Webb was off and running with a breathless version of “The Highwayman”. Although his voice was still rough from the previous evening, Webb could not have put more passion into his performance. He was obviously inspired by family, nostalgia and circumstance, and he didn’t hold back as he sang many of his most popular compositions, including “Up, Up And Away” and “MacArthur Park”. His rendition of “If These Walls Could Speak” was especially plaintive.

Webb was completely at ease as he reminisced about his youth in Oklahoma. Some of his retrospection was connected to the recent release of his box-set anthology The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress: Jimmy Webb In The Seventies. When he sang his forgotten early classic “P.F. Sloan” (from his first solo album), he had the Webb family members in attendance provide the backing of a gospel choir.

Webb also introduced several new songs from his forthcoming album Twilight Of The Renegades, which gave him an opportunity to tell some hilarious stories about lost comrades Waylon Jennings, Harry Nilsson and Richard Harris. The new material included wise, moving pieces like “She Moves, Eyes Follow” and “How Quickly”, as well as the more playful “Spanish Radio”.

Webb was not afraid to offer anti-war commentary when introducing “Galveston”, pointing out that the spirit of the song, written at the height of the Vietnam War, remains relevant today.

As always, Webb’s piano work was magnificent. He made orchestral maneuvers and embellished harmonies on songs that could have sounded overly familiar in the hands of a lesser musician. And as he embraced “Wichita Lineman” for the millionth time in his storied career, one could see a complicated singer-songwriter finally comfortable in his own skin.

Enjoy the ND archives? Consider making a donation with PayPal or send a check to:
No Depression, 460 Bush St., San Francisco, CA 94108

Discuss

Did you enjoy this article? Start a discussion about it, or find out what others are saying in the No Depression Community forum.

Join the Discussion »

Find out what's going on in roots music. Share concert photos and videos, learn about new artists, blog about the music you love.

Join the No Depression Community »

Originally Featured in Issue #57 May-June 2005

Buy our history before it’s gone!

Each issue is artfully designed and packed full of great photos that you don‘t get online. Visit the No Depression store to own a piece of history.

Visit the No Depression Store »


From the Blogs

  • Ray LaMontagne at the Woods at Fontanel (Nashville, Tenn. – July 25, 2014)
    Ray LaMontagne writes great songs and makes great records. And that's certainly no small feat. His live shows, though, while being technically and musically superlative, really don't leave the audience with a whole lot to hang on to other than the technique and the music. There's no personal engagement on LaMontagne's part. It's as i […]
  • Freight Train Boogie Show #264 features new music from Old Crow Medicine Show, Carolina Story, Yvette Landry and The Sweet Potatoes
    FTB Show #264 features the new album by Old Crow Medicine Show called Remedy.  Also new music from Carolina Story, Yvette Landry and The Sweet Potatoes. Here's the iTunes link to subscribe to the FTB podcasts.  Here's the direct link to … […]
  • Vancouver International Folk Festival Day Two (Jericho Beach, Vancouver, BC - July 19th, 2014)
    While Friday night at the Vancouver Folk Festival focuses on main stage performances, the rest of the weekend on the sprawling festival grounds of Jericho Beach is as notable for its smaller workshop performances. This was especially true this year. This particular Saturday started with the official public announcement of Joan Baez's cancellation. Perha […]
  • Joshua Powell & the Great Train Robbery - Man Is Born for Trouble (Album Review)
    The origin story of Joshua Powell & the Great Train Robbery is pivotal for an appreciation of Powell’s music. The name, inspired by the 1903 film The Great Train Robbery, the first silent western committed to celluloid, evokes Powell’s affinity for history, American aestheticism, and art that has passed through generations and endured technological revol […]
  • By the Time You Read This, It'll Be Over: A Pre-Newport Ramble
    Missing the first night -- likely the best of the three, given my taste and interest -- is sort of a bummer. But, on the other hand there's still two more days and nights to wander around the festival site, to hopefully discover a new act or the reinvention of something old. And, to be completely honest, the music and performances will run second to jus […]
  • Well Crafted, The “Not To Be Missed” Music Festival of 2014
    Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill located in pristine Harrodsburg, Kentucky plays host to what is shaping up to be the best Americana music festival of 2014.  Well Crafted, August 8-9 2014, couples some of the best musical talent in our beloved scene with the fine frothy libations of Kentucky’s local Craft Beer creators.  Shaker Steps Productions’ Derek Feldma […]

Shop Amazon by clicking through this logo to support NoDepression.com. We get a percentage of every purchase you make!


Subscribe To the No Depression Newsletter

Subscribe to the No Depression Newsletter