Webb Wilder | Thursday, July 10, 2014

Webb Wilder returns to Sundilla for the first time in over two years; the timing is perfect, since the energy and fun of his previous visit are just now starting to wear off. Country Standard Time says “”Wilder is one of America’s most interesting characters, with a credo to call his own, raw talent, charismatic personality and rabid cult following,” and they mean it. Admission at the door will be $15, but you’ll want to get $12 advance tickets at Spicer’s Music, Mama Mocha’s Coffee, or online at this very site. We’ll have free coffee, tea, water and food, but as always you’re welcome to bring whatever food or beverage you prefer.

There are Roots-Rockers, and then there’s Webb Wilder. Hardly a purist, he has described the music he and his band, The Beatnecks, make as, “Rock for Roots fans and Roots for Rock fans.” In essence: Rock and Roll. There’s nothing new about combining R & B, Rock and Roll, Country, Blues, Pop and Rock. The Rolling Stones and the Beatles proved that it can yield marvelous and diverse results. I said he wasn’t a PURIST. I didn’t say he wasn’t very PICKY about the quality of the music. That includes everything from the sonics of the recordings, the choice of players, the influences he draws on, the songs he chooses to cover, or how attentive he is to the craftsmanship of his own songs.

The self-proclaimed “Last Of The Full Grown Men” hasn’t limited his creativity to the music business. There’s the picture business. His critically acclaimed indie films made him a cult hero and led to a major motion picture (Peter Bogdonavich’s “The Thing Called Love,” Paramount). He’s done guest appearances on others’ albums (Ben Folds, Jason Ringenberg, Farmer Jason, William Shatner, Maura O’Connell), and a Disney produced duo of companion CDs for the animated movie “Cars.” His smooth baritone has been used for voice-overs on countless radio commercials; he even did a stint as one of America’s FIRST Satellite DJs on XM Radio for four and a half years. Using all manner of media, Webb Wilder has been impacting Popular culture (and it him) for way over 20 years, all the while maintaining a devoted worldwide fan base through a relentless, never ending tour schedule.

More Like Me, his first collection of new material since 2005, is classic Webb – an exciting blend of bedrock American music and bittersweet ballads incorporating a host of influences. Not forgotten is his ever present irreverent attitude and wit. According to Gibson Guitar magazine, this “gives Wilder’s music a sense of fun and imagination often lacking among his peers.”

A native of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Wilder moved to Austin, Texas in 1976 with his boyhood friend, Bobby “Crow” Field. Incorporating a British Invasion influence (among others) into their then double time tunes separated Wilder’s music from the pack. After moving to Nashville, Wilder and Field formed the Beatnecks in 1985. As Nashville moved toward unapologetically commercial fare, Wilder and Field were busy crafting their signature brand of rock ‘n’ roll, founded on classic influences from both sides of the pond. Wilder’s debut, It Came From Nashville, a brazenly rocking bar-band rave-up, seems even more unlikely now than it must have seemed then. His subsequent albums (Hybrid Vigor, Doo Dad, Town & Country, Acres of Suede, About Time, and Born To Be Wilder (live)), have continually maintained the high standard set by the first, becoming textbooks for aspiring roots rockers and showing there was (and is) a vibrant market for their hybrid brand of Southern musical gumbo.

In concert, Wilder spikes the punch between songs with potent doses of rustic wit and character, transcendent mediations, incantations, and codes by which to live. Webb’s first Blind Pig release, Born To Be Wilder captured that on-stage alchemy with a set featuring favorites such as “The Human Cannonball,” “Tough It Out”, “Miss Missy From Ol’ Hong Kong”, “Louisiana Hannah,” and others, at their rockin’ best in front of a sold out enthusiastic crowd. Elmore Magazine called Born To Be Wilder “a generous helping of fresh, tasty rock ‘n’ roll that will leave the listener asking for seconds,” while American Songwriter said it “highlights the musical attributes that make him appealing and unique.”

Music critics have always warmed up to the Webb Wilder juggernaut. The Associated Press described the band’s music and stage performance as “a glorious amalgamation of grunge chords, killer grooves, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins theatrics, a healthy sense of humor, and great pop melodies.” It’s “full of wit and personality, and devoid of technological or conceptual gimmickry,” added the Houston Post.

The new studio album, More Like Me, is a potent collection that blends all the humor, wistfulness, urgency, soul, grease, heartache and humor that runs through the great Blues, Country, Pop, Soul and (most of all) Rock and Roll that Webb loves, lives and breathes into a sound that is just a little, well…”Wilder” than the rest. Fans of Wilder’s fretwork won’t be disappointed, as Webb gives his guitar plenty of attention on tracks like the Rock ‘n’ Roll rave up “She Said Yeah,” the heavy Hillbilly Boogie of “Honky Tonkin’ (In Mississippi),” as well as his low-fi and low DOWN (“Howlin Wolf meets The Cramps”) take on Roky Erikson’s, “Don’t Slander Me,” just to name a few. Always working in the two guitar format live, Webb includes long time axe men associates, George “the Tone Chaperone” Bradfute, Bob Williams and guitarist/co-producer, Joe V. McMahan to paint colors not otherwise provided by his own six string brush strokes. Bob provides textures that extend beyond the typical tenets of twang, like the electric sitar heard in “Pretty Is As Pretty Does.” His contributions don’t end there, either. Joe V. is all over the place and not only as a brilliant guitarist, co-producer and engineer. He and Bob both play pedal steel on one song each for instance. George joins Webb and Joe (all three do some “string stranglin’) on “Slander,” as well as providing the beautiful resonator mandocello on” “She’s Not Romantic,” also featuring atmospheric accordion (Michael Webb), one of the many NON-guitar spices seasoning the stew throughout the record. There are other guests, but every track is anchored by longtime drummer Jimmy Lester and Beatneck bassist, Tom Comet. Tom even got WAY involved with the cover art turning Webb’s concepts into reality. Along with “Romantic,” More Like Me contains some of Webb’s most irresistible tunes yet, like “Come Around” and “Too Cool For Love.” There are five Webb originals altogether with infectious melodies and left of center but, right on target lyrics that should appeal to anyone with a ticket to ride on the “mystery train.”

Webb Wilder is an evangelist for real Rock ‘n’ Roll. As a singer, guitarist, bandleader, film actor, songwriter and humorist, he may be roots-rock’s only true Renaissance man. More Like Me will no doubt find favor with Webb’s devoted legion of fans, but with its affecting songs and masterful performances, it’s sure to bring many newcomers into the fold.

“If Webb Wilder and his band are passing within 300 miles of your town, don’t miss them!” – Vintage Guitar Magazine

“(Webb) flat out rocks. They serve up potent Southern comfort.” – Rolling Stone Magazine

“There are no explosions, no video enhancements to a Webb Wilder show. Just lots and lots of authentic, gut level rock music. He’s the last of the full grown men, and you don’t question his genius.” – Birmingham News

“These days the term ‘roots rocker’ is almost meaningless, but Wilder’s blend of a rocker’s heart with a hillbilly’s soul is probably the best aural definition of it yet.” – Time Out Chicago

“Wilder is one of America’s most interesting characters, with a credo to call his own, raw talent, charismatic personality and rabid cult following.” – Country Standard Time

“The band is ‘Georgia Satellites, part Dave Edmunds, part Elvis Costello and altogether wonderful.'” – Billboard Magazine

“Nashville’s best country-on-peyote band.” – Entertainment Weekly

“He continues to spritz much needed rockabilly-juiced mayhem down the pants of contempo-country establishment.” – Paste Magazine

“If bands were cigarette brands, Webb Wilder and the Beatnecks would be Lucky Strikes. Unhyped, unfiltered, and probably dangerous in large doses.” – Macon Telegraph

“With (the About Time) album, Webb Wilder seems to have reclaimed his title and reasserted his status as roots rock’s resident weirdo.” – Harp Magazine

“Wilder is a master at scrambling the sounds, songs and threads of British Pop, rockabilly, country, blues and the freedom and emotion of soul music.” – 20th Century Guitar Magazine

“Webb’s a wild man, but there is a cool confidence behind his onstage swagger that commands attention. This is roots rock at its best, loaded with hooks, twang and power chords.” – James Kelly, Creative Loafing, Atlanta

“With his obvious love of British rock and Southern roadhouse, Wilder could be a kind of Tom Petty for the trailer set.” – San Francisco Chronicle

“Wilder’s place in Nashville rock history is well-secured. He extended Music City’s reputation as a place where innovation could occur well outside the confines of Music Row.” – The Tennessean

“Influenced by punk, rock, surf, blues and hard-core drownin’-in-my-tears, cryin’-in-my-beer country classics, not to mention a hunka-hunka-burnin’ Elvis, (Webb Wilder) created a musical fusion that lit a creative fuse in bands from L.A. to NYC. Throughout his nearly 20-year career, he’s proved it with whiz-bang albums and live shows that vibrate with sizzling surf, crackling country, gutsy garage and classic Chuck Berry-styled guitar-rocking. It’s all good.” – Hal Horowitz, Creative Loafing

“Webb Wilder might be lacking in a few things – such as massive record sales and mainstream notoriety – but confidence is not one of them. First of all he has a credo. Wimps don’t have credos. Wilder also nicknamed himself ‘The Last of the Full Grown Men’ partly because he’s a fairly large dude, partly cause other guys are sissies.” – Broward-Palm Beach New Times

“Americana Idol – Webb Wilder, Nashville’s wildest, weirdest export, is actually kind of normal. Kind of. He has a deep Mississippi accent that cuts thru psychedelic power chords, singing with the kind of charisma that makes listeners want to buy whatever he’s selling. One of a kind? Hell, this guy is a rock music Sasquatch. Only he’s real.” – Nashville Scene