Video: Ryan Seaton Quartet

Last weekend, Roy Webb made a guest appearance with the Ryan Seaton Quartet, playing piano. Here’s a video, where you can hear Roy (and see him at ~1:30):

I have said before that the Ryan Seaton Quartet has the potential to go places quickly, if they so desire. If Roy joined . . . wow.

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Question of the Week: Roy Webb

I had the chance to catch up with solo piano artist Roy Webb in September at the National Quartet Convention; he had just left Gold City at the time. Here is our conversation:

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For a transcript, click the “more” link.

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CD Review: Timeless (Roy Webb)

rwtRating: 5 stars (of 5)

Song List: Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee; A Mighty Fortress Is Our God / I Sing the Mighty Power of God; Old Rugged Cross; Old Time Religion / William Tell Overture; Come Thou Fount / There is a Fountain; Amazing Grace; Just As I Am; He Keeps Me Singing; Blessed Assurance; It is Well With My Soul.

* * *

It has been nearly two years since Roy Webb left Signature Sound. (He left in May 2007.) He has since performed both solo concerts and select dates with the Booth Brothers, the Ball Brothers, and the Hoppers. But from a recording standpoint, he has kept a fairly low profile till this project. His last major project, You Raise Me Up, was released while he was still with Signature Sound. (I reviewed it in April 2007, here.)

The announcement that he’d signed with Song Garden came out a number of months ago. (It was by March, but I forget the exact date.) Webb didn’t rush to get a project out the door, though; he spent months working on his debut major-label project, Timeless. He brought in master craftsman Lari Goss to produce the project. Goss’s touch is especially evident on the big ballads like “Amazing Grace,” “It is Well,” and “Old Time Religion / William Tell Overture.” (The latter is an arrangement Goss originally wrote for Anthony Burger. Webb makes the arrangement his own in what is possibly the project’s strongest performance.)

Most of the songs are fully orchestrated, and those that aren’t are placed at strategic points within the song list. “Old Rugged Cross” provides a meditative slow point before the fast-paced “Old Time Religion / William Tell Overture,” and “Just As I Am” provides a similar “selah” moment after the majestic crescendos of “Amazing Grace” and before the swing-influenced “He Keeps Me Singing.” (Side note: The swing influence is highlighted to interesting effect. The background vocals at several points actually say “keeps me swinging as I go.” I didn’t notice that the first time through the CD, but once I did, I had to listen to those phrases a number of times to be sure my ears weren’t playing tricks on me.)

I’m giving this five stars. There’s just no reason not to. Even though I personally prefer vocal projects, my criteria for a 5-star project is taking a CD I know is good (I had already been planning to give this 4.5 stars) and asking, “Is there any way in which this particular artist could have released a better CD?” And, as the final notes of “It is Well” faded, I decided the answer was no. There’s not a flaw on this project. It is an impressive piece of art.

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Roy Webb signs agreement with New Day

Roy Webb announced in his most recent email update that he’s signed a distribution agreement with New Day:

In other news, I have just recently signed a distribution agreement with NewDay Music. This is a blessing! My music will be distributed to all the major retail outlets! I just pray that God uses my music to reach as many people as possible! I want people to be inspired and lifted up by my music! So, please keep me in your prayers!

I received this after I’d posted the interview, otherwise I would have made mention of it somewhere in the post. This is a good move (and a big move) for him, since, as he mentioned, it will make his music available to retail outlets.

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An Interview with Roy Webb

I recently had the opportunity to interview Roy Webb; click here for a formatted pdf of the interview. For more information about his current activities, visit http://www.roywebbmusic.com/. [EDIT, 6/18/12: Broken link removed.]

A highlight:

Q. You had your first concert a few weeks ago. How did that go? How busy has your schedule since been?

A. My first concert went really, really well! It was just a good feeling to get out there and see the fans again, playing the piano for people is what I do, so, it felt great to share what I do with all of the people who were there that night.

Since then, my schedule has been hectic-in a different way! I knew this solo thing was going to be ALOT of work-and believe me it is-but, now I am responsible for EVERYTHING! So, I am busy with everything from ordering product, to maintaining my website, handling dates, mailing out website orders, coming up with new musical ideas, practicing, writing new jokes and comedy material, the list goes on….AND on top of that-just trying to be a good Dad and Husband. Wow….no wonder I’m tired everyday!

Click here for the rest of the interview.

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Twelve Days of Christmas, Day 8: Roy Webb

Thomas Marshall, Vice-President to Woodrow Wilson, is perhaps best known for his summary of the job. He said: “Once upon a time there were two brothers. One went to sea. The other became Vice President. Neither was ever heard from again.”

All too often, aspiring Southern Gospel soloists bring that saying to mind. While it’s hard for a vocalist–even a good one–to get going in this group-driven genre, it’s even harder for a pianist.

This year, Roy Webb started his attempt at that difficult task. My Christmas wish for him is that he would get the publicity and attention he needs to succeed.

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Roy Webb annouces first solo concert

The first issue of Roy Webb’s new e-newsletter, Webbmail, contained this announcement of his first solo concert: [EDIT, 6/18/12: Broken link removed.]

And…….here it is………(insert drum roll)…………MY FIRST CONCERT!!!

It will be Saturday, October 20 at Jennings County High School Auditorium in North Vernon, Indiana! Tickets are only $5!! The concert will start at 6pm that night, and I CANT WAIT!!!! I’m both nervous and excited. So, please keep me in your prayers! I am praying that it is a blessed night and that everyone who attends will be glad they came to it!
Joining me will be the group Grafted. I think you will really enjoy them!

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You Raise Me Up (Roy Webb)

Those of you who have read my posts here and on Southern Gospel message boards for a while know that I am a fan of the all-live piano solo in a concert setting. Piano solos with soundtracks are nice, but there is very little that can top a master pianist doing all the fills and runs with just ten fingers.

That said, I have typically found most piano-only instrumental CDs to be rather listless, boring productions. Piano solos on a CD are often slower arrangements than the three-chords-and-a-cloud-of-dust that the same pianist will play live. If that sort of thing could be captured on CD, it would make a great instrumental CD, but it isn’t frequently.

And that is all a roundabout way of introducing and explaining the fact that I think Roy Webb’s solo CD is quite enjoyable despite the heavy instrumentation. If I didn’t give that preliminary explanation, you might think I was stepping out of character to find something nice to say about it. But I don’t have to here.

This project appears to have been a full-scale undertaking, with superproducers Wayne Haun and Lari Goss contributing to the horn and string arrangements, and numerous top studio musicians–among them Gordon Mote, John Hammond, Greg Ritchie, Mark Vain, Lari Goss, and the members of the Nashville String Machine–playing instruments for the project.

Webb’s jazz training at the University of Cincinnati Conservatory of Music shows in several of the arrangements on this project, most notably “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” and “Tell Me the Story of Jesus.”

“Just a Little Talk with Jesus,” “Swing Low Medley,” and “Wayfaring Stranger” all get a jazz-influenced Black Gospel spiritual treatment.

Numerous new Signature Sound fans have never heard of Southern Gospel before, and with a nod to this fact, Webb includes “Above All” and “People Need the Lord,” two contemporary praise songs that they would recognize.

This is a very well-balanced project, with four hymns, one Southern Gospel quartet song (“Just a Little Talk”), two spirituals (“Swing Low Medley” and “Wayfaring Stranger”), two praise songs, and one big ballad. It is Southern Gospel enough that a fan of SG instrumental CDs should enjoy it, yet unique enough that it should appeal to a wide variety of fans.

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