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Album Review

Always a patient and elegant songwriter, Jimmy Webb has penned some classic and enduring songs, including “Galveston,” “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Wichita Lineman,” “MacArthur Park,” and “Highwayman,” among many others. Although he performs live when he feels like it, often doing shows solo at the piano, he’s never feverishly pursued the spotlight and stays instead focused on the song at hand, writing with a sense of hushed understatement, dropping the characters in his songs into a particular place in their lives that can’t help but resonate with listeners — few songwriters have portrayed the emotional doubts and isolation at the heart of contemporary life with such grace and compassion. The word muted somehow comes to mind, and that’s exactly what this release is — hushed, unhurried, and muted. Recorded at sessions in 2008 and 2009, Cottonwood Farm is a family affair, featuring Webb and his sons Christiaan, Justin, James, and Cornelius — the Webb Brothers, who have three critically acclaimed albums of their own under their belts — as well as his father, Bob Webb, and daughter, Camila. Opening with a version of Webb's “Highwayman,” the album quickly swings into its emotional center with the title tune, a sweeping, 12-minute epic that is one of Webb's finest and is also perfectly suited to the familial tone of the project — and this is a Webb Brothers album, too, with songs like the lush and elegant “Mercury’s in Retrograde” showing that the sons clearly inherited a lot of their father’s pop sense. The final cut is among the most poignant — it features Webb's 86-year-old father, Bob Webb, singing a delightfully endearing version of “Red Sails in the Sunset,” making this album a three-generation family affair. Anchored by “Cottonwood Farm,” a song Webb wrote in the early '70s for his grandfather but never recorded, this album casually tells the Webb family story through several generations — it’s a warm fusion of history and melody from a remarkable family with an uncanny affinity for crafting its own elegant brand of pop Americana.

Customer Reviews

Album of the Year !

Just buy it !! "Cottonwood Farm" sees Jimmy Webb and his sons The Webb Brothers unite for the first time to cut this wonderful record. JW standards 'Highwayman' , 'If These Walls' and 'Where The Universes Are' are sublime, beautifully reconstructed and along with the epic 12 minute title track and new songs this album consolidates the mighty Webb songbook.

Biography

Born: 15 August 1946 in Elk City, OK

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Jimmy Webb is that rarity in rock music, a professional songwriter who achieved stardom in that capacity. Rock music has its share of great songwriters, but most of them — Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Gene Clark, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Pete Townshend — became best known for their own recordings of their best work. Webb has also performed live, and recorded fairly extensively, but his performing career never approached his success as a composer. His songwriting...
Full bio

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