Bry Webb has written and recorded an album entitled Free Will. A record about responsibility, love, work, desire, art and will. Webb’s second solo album is more deliberate and insistent than ever. He is a man whose steady, ragged voice draws shapes in freehand. His lyrics are like strings of knots: you apprehend them, slowly unravel them, couldn’t ever understand how they were tied. Sometimes Free Will is weary, other times it’s defiant. It reminds one of Smog’s A River Ain’t Too Much To Love, Leonard Cohen’s Songs From A Room, Gillian Welch’s Time (The Revelator), and the Silver Jews’ Natural Bridge.
Produced with Jeff McMurrich (Jennifer Castle, Owen Pallett, Sandro Perri), it’s also a recording by some true-hearted human beings playing music in rooms in Toronto and Guelph, Ontario. It is Webb and his friends Rich Burnett (lap steel, guitar, vocals), Aaron Goldstein (pedal steel), Anna Ruddick (bass, vocals) and Nathan Lawr (drums). There are guests like the singer Jennifer Castle, pianist Thomas Hammerton, and the experimental hurdy-gurdy player Ben Grossman.