Bry Webb proves himself as a Provider
Published: Monday, January 30, 2012
Updated: Thursday, July 5, 2012 15:07
After his old band, The Constantines — perhaps one of the most influential Ontario indie/alternative rock of the last decade — called it quits, singer and guitarist Bry Webb decided to move into both parenthood and adulthood.
The tolls of the road and the upcoming expectation of a child, among other things, took him out of the music scene, but his brief stint away from music didn't last very long. Unbeknownst to him, it was actually fatherhood that brought him back into making music.
"This record wouldn't exist if I hadn't become a father. When our son was born I thought about writing a song for him like a lullaby that had all the meanings of his name. So I wrote the song ‘Asa'— which is his name — and that was the first song on the record," said Webb.
"It was the first song I had written in a year and a half and that was a breakthrough for me."
His new album, Provider, is his debut as a solo artist and features nine heartwarming and simple tracks full of sliding steel guitars ("I could sleep in that sound"), upright bass and his signature gravelly voice that comes across akin to something like Leonard Cohen rather than the brash rock ‘n roll in his previous work.
Prior to Provider, Webb had been working on a record in Montreal during breaks from tours with his friends under the name The Harborcoats. He found the recording process both frustrating and discouraging, as he had been working on the record for over four years but was never pleased with the product.
"I just overworked it. I would just add instruments here and there. I was just crestfallen over it after working on it for four or five years," he said. "Then I was invited to come record over a couple of weekends live off the floor and it was all very simple. That was the operative word for the sessions."
"I think it ended up being the right thing to do with those songs. I think I over thought them in the other context and this was the better way to present them."
While Webb was working on Provider he was invited to sing on a few tracks for Feist's Metals and subsequently go on tour with her as the opening act. It was on tour with her that Webb fulfilled a personal dream, to play on the stage and Toronto's famed Massey Hall.
"It was terrifying. I never imagined I would get to sit on the stage at Massey Hall and play. It was this unbelievable privilege," he said. "I felt more nervous than I did when I was 15 playing my first show. It was very important to me."
Now that Provider is available in stores courtesy of Idee Fix Records, Webb explained that while personal milestones like playing at Massey Hall are important to him, hearing feedback and resonance that the album has had on both his peers and the public are equally — if not more — important to him.
"The biggest thing has been putting it out there and hearing from all these friends I haven't talked to in a while since I haven't been touring – all these people that I love and don't see very much said a lot of really nice things," said Webb.
"It was really nice to connect to people through playing music again. It was something I hadn't thought about in a while. It just reaffirmed the feeling that I really love doing it."
Bry Webb performs at The Mansion House on Feb. 3.