Marsha Webb,
(Montana Moon, 2001)

Usually when I write a CD review I'm inspired to write about it because I'm passionate about the music. I can ramble on and on about a great CD because I want everyone to enjoy the sounds I just can't live without. Other times my inspiration results from the need to warn readers not to waste their time or money on some music I despise. These reviews are written with the expectation that you should dislike the music, too. With Whiterock, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Marsha Webb's fourth CD release, I don't have that passion. Why? Webb's CD of twelve original solo piano pieces is just hanging in space, inspiring no one and offending no one.

There is not a lot to write about regarding a solo piano instrumental work. There is virtually no production involved, no lyrics to contend with, and no arrangements. Everything is said directly through Webb's compositions and her musicianship. Her gentle piano playing on Whiterock is always pleasant. But every tune is played at the same volume, with the same relative beat and the same gentleness. It appears she doesn't want to hit the keys of her piano any harder out of fear of breaking them. The melodies are not very distinctive from one another, so unless you notice the few seconds of silence after each piece, you would not know when one track ends and the next one begins. Despite its pleasantries this music will not draw you in to its world. I like listening to this disc but only as background music. It is nothing more than that, and as a reviewer I require more from listening to music than Webb is offering. I wish she would compose something a little more substantial. There are no upbeat numbers. Would a little jazz or boogie-woogie have hurt anyone?

Webb appears to have put more thought in to naming her works than in composing them. Interesting titles abound: "Dallas in the Rearview," "Somewhere Over the Brooks Range," "Early Morning, McDonald Lake" and "The Island of Wild Geese" are a few examples. I would like to be more excited about Marsha Webb, but she will have to show more versatility on her next disc to get me to listen again.

[ by Charlie Ricci ]
Rambles: 10 November 2001