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Chris Webster
Chris Webster “It’s a mighty thin line between certain kinds of country and classic rhythm and blues. Look at John Hiatt. Or Bonnie Raitt. Or Chris Webster. The singer/songwriter from Davis, California (known to many as one of the dynamic singers in the NorCal eclectic septet Mumbo Gumbo) blends the two styles in a way that has distanced her from the country mainstream but endeared her to fans of soulful singing. Webster’s is an authoritative voice that manages to make existential angst, romantic confusion and spiritual longing sound uncommonly appealing. Each note she sings conveys a probing, acute sensitivity to the little complications of life and love, with a sexy edge to boot- Webster is a real find, a great singer who has found her voice but not her niche. It may simply be a matter of finding an audience that doesn’t care about musical boundaries. At that point, there will be little talk of country or soul; there will only be praise for one of the finest voices in any genre.”
- No Depression

When an artist brings out a really superb album, the first question asked is how will she top this one. Its even a tougher question when you consider it's the artist’s first solo effort. This is the position Chris Webster finds herself in, with the debut of Drive. I included this album in my top ten releases of 1995 along with luminaries such as Tracy Chapman New Beginning, Natalie Merchant Tigerlilly, and Joan Armatrading What’s Inside. Drive is a showcase of Chris’s magnificent voice, and her splendid song writing ability. Nine of the 12 songs were written by Chris, and the three excellent choice covers are icing on the cake. The power, beauty and uniqueness of Chris’s voice is self evident upon listening, but her lyrical ability unfolds through each song and is a very pleasant surprise. There is unique underlining characteristic in Chris’s writing and a subtle style that gives the writing a recognizable signature. Her vocal style has a predominate bluesy up-tempo current, with eddies of pop, folk, country, and pure driving rock. Everything she does, she does well, and her choice of backing musicians only solidifies her excellence. They include Willie Weeks, Bill Lloyd, Barbara Lamb, Mike Marshall, Joe Craven, the Memphis Horns, Matt Rollins, Al Perkins and the great Nina Gerber. In addition, Kevin Welch, Ferron, and Ray Benson of Asleep At The Wheel, have voiced high praise of this fine effort.

You know you're in for a treat when the first song up is a Van Morrison cover , Ball and Chain. She delivers the song with the soul and power typical of Van Morrison and she takes it to a new dimension through the shear quality of her voice. Her powerful distinctive voice seems a natural fit for this blues style song.

Tumble into Love is a fun rockin’ piece with a little country flair giving the listener a first glimpse of Chris’s signature songwriting style and delivery. It's a little reminiscent of the Nick Lowe’s writing style and Carlene Carter’s vocal exuberance.

I’m Driving is a well executed sensual sounding, kinda Bonnie Riatt "like" but better (no I’m not knocking Bonnie, this is just a high compliment to Chris).--You can sit real close with your hand on my leg, But before you touch that wheel, make no mistake, I’m driving, I’m driving.”

Shake on It, featuring the Memphis Horns has a down home blues type of feeling with a hard driving delivery. Is there some kind of fine print I should be reading /Before I sign up with you./ If love is a bargain will I still be needing/ A guarantee that you’ll be true/ Before we seal it up I’ve got to sit you down/ Honey, look me in the eye and take my hand and /Shake on it...

Turning of the wheel, a masterful rendition of a Jennifer Berezan song, (who by the way is one of the finest as yet relatively unknown singer songwriters around) is a hauntingly beautiful song about the very nature of our existence and our relationship to the world. This is one of those rare and special songs for me that requires listening to over and over. The kind of song that becomes your very favorite for a period of time, and the only song you want to listen to. Guess what ! Drive contains two such songs . Circles In The Wind is the other.. But now I’ve got questions for your answers/ And if you think that is a sin,/ I growing tired of searching/ For a voice /That circles in the wind / Around and around....Yes, Circles in the Wind just goes round and round in your head, and you can’t get enough.

So, yes Chris has set the bench mark, a very lofty one at that, for her future work to be measured against. Great artists tend not to have a problem with this, and I don’t think Chris will either. I only see a bright productive future and look forward to following her career and enjoying her music.
- Jack Sutton, Harmony Ridge


   
 
Drive
CD $15.99 catalog# 4264
Chris Webster Drive
Circles In The Wind real audio
Tumble Into Love (mp3)
Candybars and Freedom (mp3)
I'm Driving (mp3)
No More Excuses (mp3)

Now Playing
CD $14.99 catalog# cwcd-1001
Chris Webster Now Playing
Tumbleweed (mp3)
Bells in the Harbor (mp3)
Since I Fell For You (mp3)
Tell Me Again About the Rabbits (mp3)

10,000 Miles
CD $14.99 catalog# 9cwcd-1002
Chris Webster 10,000 Miles
You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive (mp3)
Richmond Blues (mp3)
Ten Thousand Miles (mp3)
There Is a Balm in Gilead (mp3)

     
 


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