Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011
Rivers Of Gold
Review of Bry Webb’s Provider
Idée FixeWhen you’ve spent much of your life doing one thing, and that one thing draws to a close, it’s not unreasonable to decide to do something completely the opposite next. So for Bry Webb to make his first post-Constantines record Provider a quiet, mainly acoustic affair only stands to reason – particularly for anyone who heard him operating as Harbourcoats before the Cons went on hiatus.
But to suggest that Provider is just the Cons frontman gone unplugged is a grave injustice – this is not a slapdash set of songs recorded on a single mic in his back room. Yes, Provider is quiet, slow, and spare but what elements are there – a persistent, ghostly steel guitar, a low and mournful chorus of horns, a foreboding tremoloed electric guitar- are meticulously arranged around Webb’s rough, resonant vocals to help carry the weight of the songs.
And weight, Provider has plenty of. Weight, meaning and purpose, all of which make the record feel so much bigger than it sounds on the surface. Webb writes from the perspective of one who has had experience in the world and the time to stop and consider it; there is wisdom in his words, rough-hewn and hard-won yet warm and comforting. Though Provider feels intensely personal, it’s not insular and is for its spareness, is welcoming in its own fashion. It may not fill the Constantines-shaped hole in their fanbase’s hearts, but does offer a glimpse directly into Webb’s own.
The Wooden Sky are making their Holiday Revue shows an annual thing, holding the second one at The Music Gallery on December 10 with special guest Nils Edenloff of The Rural Alberta Advantage; tickets are $20 in advance with proceeds going to support the Daily Bread Food Bank – details at Facebook.
And to make official two shows that are already Toronto institutions – New Year’s Eve with Elliott Brood at Lee’s Palace and The Sadies at The Horseshoe. Tickets for the former are $20 in advance, the latter $25.
Rae Spoon discusses his new album I Can’t Keep All of Our Secrets with Exclaim and has also announced a Canadian tour that brings him to the Gladstone in Toronto on January 27. The record is out January 10 and the first MP3 is now available.