By now (if you’re a proper soul fan) you’ll know Lindsey Webster had a new album on its way. For the past month or so all the decent soul and jazz stations alongside the savvy media have been playing/covering her lovely Bacharach-esque single ‘Feels Like Forever’. We were told it was the preface to the album and now the collection is good to go … hitting the sales racks March 27th.
‘Feels like Forever’ begins proceedings here and it sets the sonic tone for the rest of the long player… that’s to say it’s classy (very) laid back soul-jazz; soporific and gentle; relaxing and soothing… though never bland, twee or crassly sentimental. The instrumentation is sympathetic and polished and on ‘Feels like Forever’ some commentators compared Lindsey’s warm, soulful tones to dear old Dusty Springfield’s. I wouldn’t argue. Elsewhere you can hear shades of other star female vocalists…people like Sade and Norah Jones (most notably on ‘Close To You’) though on the lovely ‘The Unknown’ the clear reference point is Anita Baker’s classic ‘Sweet Love’.
Amongst the other highlights are the meandering album title track and the hushed ‘One Step Forward’. Interestingly, the shortest track on offer – the atmospheric ‘Rain’ – clocks in and 5 minutes 16 seconds; the length of each track allows Lindsey to grow the emotion and enrich the messages in the music. Equally it allows the excellent band to stretch out. Ms Webster enjoys such status now that top players queue to work with her. Amongst the sidemen here are drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, bassist Nathan East and percussionist Luis Conte. All are marshalled by Lindsey’s long time collaborator, and now, sadly (?) ex husband Keith Slattery. He offers his usual crystalline keys throughout and he’s co-producer and co-writer on most of the original songs. The only cover here is a new reading of the ‘Wizard Of Oz’ song ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’. Intriguingly Lindsey treats us to the rarely heard introduction before offering a passionate take on the familiar theme. It brims with optimism and hope – yes, hopefully things might, indeed – can – get better. God knows, in these fraught times we need all the hope we can muster. Music can help us through and Lindsey Webster’s ‘A Woman Like Me’ won’t make the problems go away but it will take us to a better place… if only for a short time.