Jimmy Webb and The Webb Brothers
- Emma Newlands
- 29 October 2009
‘People realise that this is not just another record, this is a family working together,’ says legendary singer-songwriter Jimmy Webb, explaining how he recruited various members of his family to make the album Cottonwood Farm in what turned out to be an emotional recording process.
With contributions from his father Bob and his sons Christiaan, Justin, James and Cornelius, who have achieved success in their right own as The Webb Brothers, the album is packed with hummable melodies, but it also reflects the warmth of a family collaboration.
When asked why he decided to undertake the project, the man responsible for penning classics like ‘Wichita Lineman’ and ‘MacArthur Park’ admits that there had been something of a family rift after an acrimonious divorce.
‘People tend to take sides and there are great silences. I realised that I didn’t know my children.’
Speaking from his Stateside home, he is courteous and sincere throughout our conversation, and explains: ‘I thought, “We are all alive, we are all still here on the same planet”. I was sitting here looking out at the garden and I thought, “Let’s make a record together”.’
‘It became a family project. We got to know each other and we liked each other a little better. Had I never done that then our relationship would have taken a different route. It’s totally brought us together and it’s been miraculous.
‘We’ve done a pretty damn fine album – we’ve worked very hard on it. It was completely healing for all of us, and people respond to that.’
He also hopes their forthcoming live performances will have a broad appeal. ‘I think the crowd will be families just like us. It will be parents and children getting together.’
And he admits being happy to include some crowd pleasers for fans. ‘I always have to serve up the hits but the old material is still good, it’s still beautiful.
‘I’ve taken a great joy in what I’ve been able to accomplish. Doing what I wanted to do – I hope there are plenty of people who can say the same thing but I’m not sure if there are. I’ve been very lucky.’
Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, Fri 6 Nov