Published Mar 01, 2015The past few years have been kind to Bry Webb. After releasing Provider, his debut solo LP, in 2011, the Guelph musician was invited to tour with Feist, staged a successful comeback tour with his band Constantines and received major acclaim for his follow-up album, Free Will. Traveling to the Nation's Capital to perform an opener-less, 7:30-start Saturday night show, Webb was more than ready to share the love.
Taking the stage at the cozy, 150-seat NAC Fourth Stage — a jazz club-like space located on the bottom floor of Ottawa's grand National Arts Centre — Webb played in front of a diverse crowd that included beer-swilling youngsters, aging CBC Radio listeners and members of his own family. Joined by his four-piece band, the Providers (featuring Nathan Lawr of Royal City on drums, Anna Ruddick of Ladies of the Canyon on double bass, Thom Hammerton of Cuff the Duke on keys and Rich Burnett on pedal steel), Webb immediately won over the audience by dedicating the set to his mother, who was celebrating her 65th birthday.
Gently strumming his acoustic through a handful of songs from his two LPs, including "Asa" and "Fletcher," the latter of which he played to his young son in the audience, Webb proceeded to warm up the seated crowd, plugging in his hollow body electric to perform some of his more raucous material, including "Ex-Punks" and his cover of Neil Young's "Albuquerque." Playing off of Burnett's tasteful pedal steel playing and Ruddick's whispered backing vocals, Webb looked comfortable and content on stage. After a touching solo rendition of a Michael Hurley track, Webb wrapped up a set that found him just as enamoured with his audience as they were with him.