Jason Webley

Against the Night

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Jason Webley's sophomore release brings more of what his debut release brought: a mix of raucous, stomping bar romps and soft balladry, with a few ambitious pieces in the vein of Tom Waits thrown in. The gravelly voiced style is perhaps best represented by "Devil Be Good," with its thumping rhythm and Howlin' Wolf delivery. The title track and its relative, "Again the Night," have a nice counterpoint to one another, the former having a tender phrasing (and voice) and the latter having a somewhat harsher sound, but they are complementary nonetheless. A special treat is Webley's rendition of a tango in "Dance While the Sky Crashes Down," well played with his accordion on the verge of a bandoneon sound. There's a worldly sound here, not quite weary to the point of Paolo Conte's smoked-out vocals, but it holds a similar aesthetic. The poetry is that of a man taken by passions and perhaps beaten by them at times. The lyrical content still shows flights of fantasy but they're contained more within his pounding, almost Bacchanalian pieces, with more classic writing somewhat reserved for the ballads. An additional dose of compositional maturity over the debut can be heard here, but Against the Night still has the fun and crashing that really define Webley's music.

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