To say that Jimmy Webb is one of the last of a breed would imply that there is or ever was anyone quite like him. Jimmy Webb has influenced generations of musicians worldwide from Billy Joel to John Mayer and Keith Urban to Rumer. Webb is the man who gave the world what has been called “the first existential country song” (“The Highwayman”) and confounded generations of radio listeners with the brilliance of a lyric about a cake left out in the rain (“MacArthur Park”). Webb has topped the country, disco and pop music charts with a list of artists astounding in its diversity and he remains a trailblazer among songwriters 50 years after his first hit. Webb now brings his multi-platinum playlist on the road in an intimate evening of songs and stories not to be missed.
At 68,Webb looks back on his days as the son of an evangelical minister in Oklahoma City, navigating fame and fortune in Hollywood with vignettes of a music industry coming of age, infused with an unexpected sense of humour from the songwriter who ‘straddled the line between Broadway balladry and existentialist despair’ according to Mojo.
Webb was greatly influenced as a teenager by his many trips to the UK and Ireland. During these trips he wrote songs, including the hits “All I Know” (Art Garfunkel) and Grammy-winning Country Song of the Year “Highwayman” and created lifelong friendships with artists including Richard Harris (“MacArthur Park”). Audiences will hear the tales of these adventures during Webb’s UK tour.
Whatever kind of music you like, the chances are there’s a Jimmy Webb song on your personal playlist. As Webb performs five decades of music on this tour, the songs prove evergreen, resonating with his longtime fans as well as new devotees introduced to the music through covers by modern chart toppers including Rumer (who had a hit in 2012 with her take on “P.F. Sloan”) or any number of reinterpretations of “Wichita Lineman” by R.E.M., Urge Overkill, Keith Urban, Homer Simpson, and more. Songs made famous as recorded by an impressive and ever widening range of artists including Glen Campbell (arguably the definitive “Wichita Lineman”, “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Galveston,” etc. Webb’s music inevitably features prominently in the new 2014 Glen Campbell film ‘Ill Be Me’), Linda Ronstadt (“Adios”), Joe Cocker (“The Moon’s a Harsh Mistress”), Donna Summer (“MacArthur Park”), Art Garfunkel (“All I Know”), Barbra Streisand (“Didn’t We” is on her 1972 and 2012 releases), Frank Sinatra (“Didn’t We” among others), The Supremes, and countless others, are discovered anew in concert with the man who first created them at the piano.
“I never got to hear Berlin or Gershwin perform in a club, however, I will be able to say I saw Jimmy Webb sitting at a Steinway. . . performing his songs. Words and Music that are embedded in the musical soul of our country, and will be played for generations to come.
…To hear the composer sing and play his songs is always something special, and to hear the songs of Jimmy Webb performed by Jimmy Webb is a momentous experience. I hope it’s not too over the top to say, but for the non music lovers out there, I can only compare it to hearing Thomas Jefferson reading the Declaration of Independence…”
— Stephen Sorokoff, The Times Square Chronicles