Tommy Webb - Heartland

Rural Rhythm

Tommy Webb hails from Kentucky and sings in a country style that can and does easily crossover to bluegrass. His tenor has that patina that marks great country vocalists. The production by Ron Stewart is rich and multilayered. The picking is first-rate with strong vocal and instrumental performances by all of the bandmembers.

Webb had a hand in writing five of the fourteen songs. His material is every bit as good as that of Jim Rushing, Ricky Skaggs, and Mike Wells, among others. The traditional number “Little Sadie” stands out, as Webb puts down his guitar and plays clawhammer banjo. The material has a true, hard, country flavor. The bluegrass arrangements are natural extensions of the songs. The music could provide a few more surprises, but should please those who like well-sung bluegrass with a strong country edge. The ode to bluegrass, “If It Weren’t For Bluegrass Music (I’d Go Crazy)” may get old, but will surely please fans as it mentions so many artists. The powerful gospel number, “Fall Upon Him,” followed by “Good Day To Run” do much to dissipate the angst in “A Hard Row To Hoe.” The sweet arrangements throughout take the edge of lyrics that tell the hard truths of rural life today.

This is a fine effort from a singer who has much to say. Like some other fine projects recently, we hear a plaintive voice singing of the farmer’s fate and of others who struggle daily—the very same country folks who love to listen, sing, and play that old country soul and bluegrass. (Rural Rhythm Records, P.O. Box 660040, Dept. D, Arcadia, CA 91066, RCB