Old, Old Friends – Mathis and Webb – New Music – Oh My!
The other night I took a side trip back to the future? I returned to those days of long long ago and listened to an artist that I really haven’t listened to in over forty to forty-five years Johnny Mathis! Yes that’s right and there’s even an Americana music tie in! Mathis released a new album this week titled Let It Be Me – Mathis in Nashville a collection of Nashville standards recorded much like John Cowan’s new album on one take over several weeks. Mathis assembled a solid group of Nashville musicians to help out guys like Bryan Sutton on banjo and mandolin, Paul Franklin on pedal steel, and Stuart Duncan on fiddle. Alison Kraus and Lane Brody provide some vocal help! Anyway I was amazed a Mathis voice that same voices that gave us “Misty” and “Chances Are” is still there at 74 years old, soon to be 75! (September 30th). Mathis does great versions of “Crazy”, “Shenandoah”, “I Can’t Stop Loving You” and others. While I don’t now if it will make it to the player but it was still a great listen and maybe I will listen to those three songs a few more times! Some of the reviews I read on-line say that it’s the best and most passionate that Mathis has sounded for a while so if you were a fan give it a listen!
After Mathis I listened to another old friend again from the middle Sixties Jimmy Webb – like Mathis I did listen in the mid-sixties to Glen Campbell sing a lot of Webb’s song and some of those albums are still in my vinyl collection! This new album titled Just Across the River and is a collection of Webb gems that sound great with the help of some great artists that include: Billy Joel and Jerry Douglas on “Wichita Lineman, Willie Nelson on “If You See Me Getting Smaller”, “Galveston” with Lucinda Williams, “P.F. Sloane” with Jackson Browne, Mark Knofler’s work on “The Highwayman” is great as is J.D. Souther’s on “I Was Too Busy Loving You”. Others who appear include: Glen Campbell (“By the Time I Get to Phoenix”), Vince Gill, Michael McDonald and Linda Ronstadt who closes the album with “All I Know”. So if you were a fan of these great songs this is the album for you and since I was I do think this one is going to make it to the player for some more listens! Here’s a review that will tell a lot more about the album then I can at Pop Matters
I know these may not be twangy or rootsy enough but good music is good music, so give them a listen you won’t be disappointed!
Here’s s great video of Jimmy Webb talking about the album! It’s long but worth it!