One of the most acclaimed songwriters of his generation, Jimmy Webb is a superb craftsman who has been called a contemporary version of Hoagy Carmichael or Cole Porter. His iconic songs are far more well-known than he is, since they were all hits for others, including "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," "Galveston," and "Wichita Lineman" for Glen Campbell; "Up, Up and Away" for the Fifth Dimension; "MacArthur Park" for Richard Harris; "All I Know" for Art Garfunkel; and "Easy for You to Say" for Linda Ronstadt. Webb's acute ear for melody, his distinctive way of telling a story, his adept way of working memorable lyrics for poignancy and pathos while sidestepping sentimentality are among his trademarks. Webb was also a pioneer in taking charge of entire albums for other artists: writing, arranging, and producing for the likes of Harris, Thelma Houston, and the Fifth Dimension. Webb recorded his own albums, but with only modest success despite his own voice serving his material admirably. Just Across the River (E1), released in August, is a superb tribute album featuring Webb himself covering some of his classics with an all-star Nashville session band and array of stellar guests ranging from Lucinda Williams to Willie Nelson to Billy Joel to Linda Ronstadt. Highlights include "P.F. Sloan" with Jackson Browne and "Phoenix," featuring Campbell, guitarist Mark Knopfler, and dobro ace Jerry Douglas. This will be a solo performance. (Photo by Jessica Walker)
Sun., Oct. 24, 7 p.m., 2010
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