REVIEW: Webb Wilder Showcases His Genre-Jumping Abilities on “Night Without Love”


Webb Wilder has made a career of effortlessly bouncing from one genre to the next. His discography includes the rockabilly sound of It Came from Nashville as well as the blues of Mississippi Moderne. On the new album Night Without Love, he demonstrates again that he is comfortable spanning genres from one song to the next.

In fact, on this album, Wilder shows himself to be a one-man genre. In that regard he shares some similarities with Ray Wylie Hubbard. Wilder shows his prowess with honky-tonk songs like the title track. The vocal delivery is similar to John Prine while the melody is driven by the pedal steel and the mandolin. “Holdin on to Myself” is an even better example of the honky-tonk side of Wilder. The pedal steel in the intro is enough to get you moving. Beyond that, the vocals are what really catch the attention. At some points in the song, Wilder drops into the lower registers and brings Ernest Tubb and Junior Brown to mind.

While a lot of the album dwells in country and blues, there is plenty of rock. When you listen to “Buried Our Love,” it’s hard not to think about Elvis Costello – particularly Costello’s country-tinged songs. The guitar tone and the energy are similar to the sounds on My Aim Is True. At the same time, Wilder shows a similar lyrical prowess with phrases like, “The one thing worse than crying like a baby is crying like a grown-up.” “Sweetheart Deal” is a song co-written by Dan Penn, who wrote “Dark End of the Street” among other popular tunes. It’s fitting that the song is placed right after “Buried Our Love” because this tune has some similarities to “Alison” by Elvis Costello.

You know how in some parts of the U.S., people say, “if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes”. You could say something very similar with this album. If one song doesn’t tickle your fancy, just move on to the next one because the odds are good that it will be very different stylistically than the previous one. Whether it’s country, blues, or rock, Wilder covers the musical bases and gives the listener a variety of sounds from one song to the next. Night Without Love will be available everywhere on April 10. Order your copy here:

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