After the end of the Constantines and a self-imposed hiatus, Bry Webb has re-emerged with an inspired new record of stark, intense songs. A gifted guitarist and one-of-a-kind lyricist blessed with a mighty voice, Webb's charisma as the Cons' lead singer always belied the reality that he's a pretty quiet, unassuming guy with a lot of thoughts swirling through his busy mind. He spent so much time in his head when his band halted their decade-long run in 2010 that it crippled him musically; he simply saw no way forward with his latest songs. As a budding family and adulthood also beckoned, he wisely redirected his creative energy into something more profound and personal. In a sense, that journey has been documented on the intricate, high-minded folk of Provider, a confident self-recognition about being "just a man" ("Zebra") and the fact that "we'll never be again what we were when we were younger" ("Ex-Punks") that's as haunting and resonant as any record can be. Captured live-off-the-floor with musicians from Webb's new residence in Guelph, ON (and guests like Colin Stetson and Jennifer Castle), Provider moans with the stuff of life ― fatherhood, working full-time, joy, death ― and it's one of the most mesmerizing things any songwriter can lay claim to in recent memory.
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July 23, 2012Exclaim! staff13601