Country singer/songwriter James Robert Webb has been killing it since day one. His last few singles have been well received by listeners while his general profile within the country music community seems to be getting quite popular with all the right folks.
That said, adaptation is necessary to sustain any real credibility in this business, and in a new, even harder outlaw look emerging from his most recent studio sessions, Webb is arguably putting forth some of his best work to date in the form of a new single titled “Gentlemen Start Your Weekends.” Although much heavier and rock-oriented than his peers’ output has been, “Gentlemen Start Your Weekends” sees this player sounding more full-bodied in his execution than ever before, and potentially unlocking a side of his artistry that could fill a void for country/rock fans around the globe this summer.
The first thing that grabbed my attention in this single wasn’t even the flair of the fretwork or the sizzle of the percussive heat in the center of the mix, but the chemistry that exists between these parts when they’re seemingly vying for a small space in the spotlight. There’s certainly a competitive edge between the different movements in “Gentlemen Start Your Weekends” that facilitates even more thrills and chills than would have been present in an acoustic James Robert Webb release, and I think each contributing faction in this piece is benefiting from the edginess of its counterparts. There hasn’t been a good rock-influenced anthem out of the country underground this year, in my opinion at least, but this is one of the first to come to my attention worthy of an extra listen.
This lead vocal that Webb is hurling at us from the top of the mix is melodic and meticulously arranged between the drums and the guitar parts, but it’s also able to keep up with the tempo in a way that constantly exudes this singer’s dominance over the performance. He’s the real star of this show, and as much as I dig the connection he develops with the instrumental parts in the mix, it’s ultimately his voice shaping the mood and tone of both the verses and the music designed to present them to us. This guy has the rockstar sound down perfectly, and better yet, he doesn’t sound the least bit self-conscious in his execution.
If this is on par with what we should be expecting to hear out of James Robert Webb in his future releases he’s going to be gaining a lot of ground on the establishment in Nashville a lot sooner than later. This is a pivotal moment for the country genre, and perhaps one of the more important crossroads for hybrid music given all of the interest in crossover singles over the past few months, but if there’s one singer/songwriter prepared for all of the pressure ahead of him, I think it’s this one. With an outlaw like James Robert Webb manning the controls, fans have found a winning formula in rock n’ roll and country music the same.