album reviews

TK Webb & the Visions
Kemado (2008)

TK Webb has channeled his Delta Blues influences into a rocking near-metal album on "Ancestor," his first release with his new backing band, the Visions. The sound, surprisingly, works quite well. Even with the fuller, heavier tone provided by the Visions, the blues quality of Webb's music still shines through: The blazing guitar riff that kicks off "Shame" is more Hendrix than Metallica, and the group certainly could have carried those squealing guitars longer than the track's 2 1/2 minutes.

These songs are all the more compelling because of the rawness of Webb's voice; on "Year 33," he recalls the gritty, throaty quality of Thalia Zedek, while his croon makes the mellow "Patience and Fortitude" sound like a graveyard lullaby.

Webb & the Visions wait only two songs before releasing the eight-minute epic "God Bless the Little Angels." The track begins with a hint of bluesy noodling that reminds us of the solo Webb of yesteryear and then jumps with almost no warning into a pounding heavy rock number. But every time it sounds like the song has reached a climax, the group pulls it back to a softer place, only to push it to a peak even higher than the one before. Calling his backing band the Visions might seem arrogant, but Webb has executed almost flawlessly his vision to expand and enhance the blues sound that graced his solo albums.

-- Catherine P. Lewis

.: Originally published: The Washington Post: 27 March 2009, Page WE08
.: Ancestor on