A warm and lucid bundle of smooth alt-country swoon, the brand new track Blue Wildflowers out today from Melbourne singer-songwriter Rich Webb marks a third peek into Rich’s upcoming fifth full-length album RIGHT!, set for release on December 9. An immersive amalgamation of the likes of Bob Dylan, apologies and lost loves, Blue Wildflowers will be witnessed live in action in Brunswick at the Union Hotel on Saturday December 10, as part of a special album launch show to celebrate all things RIGHT!.
Blue Wildflowers unfurls like a gossamer flower petal on a warm summer’s day, with nods to artists Rich himself holds in high esteem, including Sparklehorse, Bob Dylan, Patty Griffin, Silver Jews, John Prine, Vic Chesnutt and, a recent addition to Rich’s listening repertoire, American singer-songwriter Kevin Morby. Penned as an intimate atonement and a timely reminder, stemming from personal experiences, Blue Wildflowers is a bittersweet yet lolling rumination for both Rich personally and the broader audience, as Rich explains, “It’s in many ways an apology song – to a few people broadly, but one lovely person in particular that I didn’t treat as well as I should have done. Not saying on any level that everything was my fault – that’s not true and never can be – but when beautiful things turn sour for whatever reason, you have a responsibility as part of it. It takes two to make something work and grow – you both need to nurture what you have. And I could have done a lot of things better and been more careful and protective of the relationship and love we had. I wanted to say sorry for that – for being so careless and reckless with something as delicate and pure as that kind of rare love. More broadly also, I have tended to be a bit like that through much of my life too and I also wanted to get this song down – like a tattoo or something – to try and remind me not to behave like that in the future. So I won’t forget and fuck up again, or something like that. To remind me to appreciate the moment and the great things I have in my life and to think more before jumping off a cliff in search of something else.”
Produced by Rohan Sforcina, Rich Webb and Phil Wakeman, Blue Wildflowers was itself a significant catalyst for its overarching album RIGHT!, with Rich and Rohan bottling lightning early on in the process via the track, as Rich reveals, “Blue Wildflowers is the third single from the new album RIGHT!, the lead track and I reckon the heart and soul of the record. I wrote this song first and as soon as it dropped out, I thought it was too good not to do something with. It kind of shaped the rest of the songs that followed, and the sound of the record as a whole. I think I got some cred with producer Rohan Sforcina with it too, as he seemed to like it and it was one of the songs we tried on the first day… and that helped form the bond we needed to make the thing, and a strong one it is too. It’s a pretty important song for me, and something I felt I needed to do. I’m proud of it on so many levels.”
The accompanying video for Blue Wildflowers perfectly complements the warm and billowing sonic tapestry weaving throughout, with Rich teaming up with good friends Matthew Lawes-Wickwar and Louis C Brandt to bring the music video to fruition. Capturing a real-life road trip for Rich, his family and crew, the end result is equally genuine and grounding, with the filming experience also celebrating the beauty of country Victoria, as Rich shares, “The idea was simple – a road trip into country Victoria for three days – and to film whatever we fancied along the way. Louis jumped in a hire car with me and a load of camera equipment, and my partner Emma and our two boys jumped in our car and we set off. It ended up being the most amazing trip – a hell of a lot of fun, some stunning images, an absolute pleasure to get out of town and everyone we met along the way was so positive and upbeat. I came back full of that positivity and just pleased we’d got out there for three days – it’s such a wonderfully beautiful and intense country we live in. There were two real highlights – Lake Tyrrell at dawn, an inland salt lake in the Mallee part of north-west Victoria, which was cosmically beautiful – that’s where the surreal pink-tinged footage came from in the middle of the clip … it was quite an amazing experience… and The Victoria Hotel in Dimboola, which was a totally rad place to stay – that’s where the back end of the video was shot. Wow, it’s beautiful out there!”.
Named RIGHT! after Rich’s catchphrase when he wants to get something done, the new album builds yet diverts from Rich’s previous release Le Rayon Vert, with the 2018 album scooping up 2019’s Alt-Country Album of the Year at the Independent Music Awards. After fiddling with ideas on and off for a while, Rich decided to create RIGHT! locally, with different equipment and ultimately sought to shake up his modus operandi – and the rest, as they say, is history. Buoyed by the creation of RIGHT!’s opening track Blue Wildflowers early on in the album journey, RIGHT! covers everything from the maudlin swaying nostalgia laced with trumpets on Love Someone to the glistening drive of I Don’t Mind At All (Bring On Summer), mellow yet upbeat twangs (50 Miles), stripped-back bluesy tranquility (You’re Always Here In My Mind), oozing jazzy arrangements laden with electronic guitar (The Last Rowdy Hour), emphatic narratives (Nothing To Lose), toe-tappin’ gems (Shapeshifter) and soaring odes (Dead City). With Rohan also recording and mixing RIGHT! alongside producing duties, RIGHT! was mastered by Pete Lyman in Nashville, who has previously worked with the likes of Chris Stapleton, Tom Waits, Weezer and Panic! At The Disco. And starting life with Rich exploring ideas armed with nothing but his voice and a guitar, the time could not be more right for Rich to finally share his latest creation with the world, as he says, “In many ways it feels a long time coming, even though it hasn’t been that long really. It’s the anticipation I reckon – you put your whole self into making a record and from the moment the last note is locked in, can’t wait to get it out there. Time seems to go so very slow and then, finally, it’s a happening thing!”.
Already a critically acclaimed fixture in the Australian music industry, Rich has repeatedly been favourably compared to some of the singer-songwriter greats like Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, with his recent releases scoring attention from Rolling Stone Australia, Beat Magazine and Music Feeds. A tried-and-true troubadour eternally in command of his craft and lyricism, Rich previously took out both Alt-Country Album Of The Year and Alt-Country Single Of The Year at the Independent Music Awards in New York in 2019 for Le Rayon Vert and Let Out Rain respectively. More recently, Rich turned his gaze to raise awareness about the treatment of asylum seekers on his powerful single Love Someone, delivering not just a stunning musical triumph but also a hard-hitting message that all humans deserve to live peacefully, whoever they are, and wherever they’re from. Rich’s genuine delivery and sharpened musicality has seen him embraced around the globe throughout his career; and 2022 is only set to further the Rich Webb story to even greater heights.
Fresh off performing at Brunswick Artists’ Bar in Victoria in late October, Rich will launch RIGHT! officially live onstage on Saturday December 10 at Union Hotel in Brunswick, and these shows will perfectly capture the beautiful essence of the album’s nine tracks, as Rich concludes, “The album launch will be the record, played like it was written – and with joy and energy of getting it all together. I will be playing with a cracking band including Matt Dixon on guitar and Jim Carden on drums, both of whom are on the record, and Alics Gate-Eastley on bass, plus a few special guests too. It’s going to be great fun!”. Blue Wildflowers is out today, Tuesday November 8