Brine Webb wonders what makes life. What makes him alive and what makes him worth keeping alive? His songwriting seems to ask if humanity is a long list of redundancies, what can be done to ensure the nonredundancy of self? Webb wonders where he comes from and he wonders where he is going, but more importantly, he wonders how he lays into the scheme. In his music and his lyrics, one can hear Brine Webb being enthralled by the mystery of life, and as much as he seems to want to solve it and be at ease with it, he seems even more terrified by it.
"Best songwriter in Oklahoma." - Seth Kastner, CEO Charis Records
"Haunting melancholy, covered in a coat of drunken optimism. The simplicity of his lyrics defy the complexity of all they imply. Webb is a writer of desperate honesty and brilliant truth." - Sarah Belling, Workweek Mag.
Brine Webb - vocals, electric and acoustic guitar
Jarod Evans - keys
Chad Copelin - organ
Ben King - bass
Jordan Elder - drums
Tiny Camera EP - 2007
Cigarette Tree EP - 2008
O You, Stone Changeling - 2011
Paper and Bone
When I Was Young
The Red Queen (and all Her men)
Private Samuel Jefferson, at Fredericksburg, December 13, 1862
...and the midnight shivers.
Brine Webb conjures gorgeous simplicity in O You, Stone Changeling
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A man and his guitar with nothing but a pen and a notepad to fumble through the confused thoughts an...A man and his guitar with nothing but a pen and a notepad to fumble through the confused thoughts and the all too simple complexities that plague him. It's an age old formula for reflection that reveals a somber transparency into the annals of the human psyche. Admittedly, all good music allows for viewership into the human psyche but when the emotion is stripped and naked then the effectiveness seems to be multiplied as if putting a magnifying glass beneath your headphones ultimately escorting the music into a more pellucid state that honors that nude approach. Brine Webb does so with a hearty dose of minimalism as he embraces this avenue effortlessly. Webb weaves his way through metaphorical stories of loss, reflection, yearning, and sometimes, defeat while never encroaching on the fundamental fashion of simplicity that in doing so would disintegrate the melancholic scenery of a man using his instruments to evoke the bleak spirit that his words simply cannot.
The records opening track Cigarette Tree introduces the nostalgic plucks and strums that the record will lean on throughout the forty-seven minute journey that Webb takes us on. The musing opener offers a palatial palette of seething pianos, strings and cymbals while Webb pines to remember the days of growing up when life was simple and now as he visits these places, either physically or otherwise, they seemed to have changed as lines like See the field it's gone away through the houses past the cigarette tree. See the wind, it's in the sky with birds and rain and cigarette smoke every... would suggest. Rarely does a singer/songwriter outfit combine raw, organic instrumentation with light, droned out keyboards and synthesizers. One would think these two spectrums would be schismatic but the two realms blend seamlessly together on O You, Stone Changeling and notably Cigarette Tree to portray a haunting musical landscape that's eerily calm and equally as vexing.
Without shortchanging Webb, it's necessary to point out the glaring resemblance to genre contemporaries Conor Oberst and Colin Meloy in regards to the vividly descriptive lyricism and the jaded, apathetic and weary tone that seems as if Webb doesn't care who he gets through to as long he gets through to himself. Upon first listen, some may sense a bitter theme but as more attentive listens ensue and you begin to delve deeper into the mood that's being conveyed it's more of a weathered reflection that is the mainstay; not bitterness. Bitterness is simply too strong of an emotion to describe what's going on here due to the fatigued vocals on tracks such as When I Was Young, Ghost Family and Too Small To Pray For. That's not to say that the vocals don't offer a powerful assertion but within that assertion is the approach that reflection is all Webb has at this point. Any other emotion would be a distraction from the pure issue at hand.
The aspect that should ultimately draw listeners in with O You, Stone Changeling is the authenticity in which the songs hold. Never does Webb attempt to integrate a piece of the musical puzzle that clearly doesn't belong. Whether it's a lonesome, acoustic guitar or a tasteful bit of strings sprinkled alongside a placid melody, Webb never wavers far from the bareness the song was built on. O You, Stone Changeling never feels forced or artificial and always remains parallel with itself. What Webb has created in O You, Stone Changeling is the notion that minimalism and a solid melody is all you really need to create a true work of art. And in this instance, the combination of simplicity merged with authenticity delivers a record that should be revered for not only its brilliant songwriting but also for its fearlessness to explore the relationship between a man, his guitar and the struggles that lie in between the strings.
Brine Webb’s morose yet beautiful music captivates
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Sometimes an album invades my consciousness and takes up residence. It pushes all other music out. I...Sometimes an album invades my consciousness and takes up residence. It pushes all other music out. It becomes the only thing I want to listen to. It puts me behind on listening to and reviewing other music. Most recently, that album has been Brine Webb‘s O You, Stone Changeling.
Webb’s album is based in the acoustic guitar, but his compositions are so intricate and yet expansive that they transcend genres. The tunes are all, however, completely devastating. From the distressed lyrics to the downtrodden tone of the songs to the artwork, this whole album is under the weather.
But it is morose in the most beautiful way; tunes like “Rrose Hips,” “Paper and Bone” and “Cigarette Tree” impact me in a way few songs are able to. Not only am I able relate to the lyrics and feel the emotion laden in the tunes, the songs hit so close to home that I have to examine myself. Rare is the album that turns the microscope on the listener.
Webb does this by turning an unsparing lens on himself. The themes here of remorse, memory, apathy and even death make other “confessional” artists seem like they’re going through the motions to grab attention. You wanna get really raw? Try writing “Ghost Family.” Try performing “Ghost Family.” Wow.
The elegant acoustic rumination “Rrose Hips” is on my best songs of the year list, as well as the haunting piano tune “Paper and Bone.” I don’t put many songs on the list, but Brine has done it twice. The album itself is definitely on my list, as you can’t have this many good songs and not be there. It’s an album that will grab and hold you. Listen to the whole thing here. And do yourself a favor and listen to the whole thing. It’s worth it.
Overlooked Oklahoma Albums of the 00's
Brine Webb's Got Melancholy Magic
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by Natalie Wright I don't really get Brine Webb, but I figure that's okay since he seems to be on...by Natalie Wright
I don't really get Brine Webb, but I figure that's okay since he seems to be on the brink of finding himself, too. We had our interview on the roof of LiT Lounge a couple weeks ago after one of his shows. As the interviewed transpired, his vunerability streamed directly from his slightly-whiskey-saturated tongue into these eloquently explained mini-stories. When it was all said and done, it felt good to know the sweet melancholy that's applied to songs like "Cigarette Tree" isn't a facade—not by any stretch of the imagination.
SOPHIE ZINE: Your dad was a musician. Was he the one that originally taught you to play?
BRINE: My dad is not a musician in the traditional way. He did it more as a hobby, but he's really good. The only reason he's a hobby musician is because he decided to have a family and get a job, and because he has stage fright issues. I actually had played bass for a long time, and I decided I wanted to play guitar. Nobody really ever taught me how to play anything. I asked my dad to show me how to play, and he taught me three chords: an E, an A and B7, and that's all he ever taught me.
SOPHIE ZINE: How long have you considered yourself to be real musician?
BRINE: It depends on what you mean by "real." I guess I started for money and doing real things six years ago.
SOPHIE ZINE: How did you start?
BRINE: It was the classic,"I learned to play music at church." I was playing this stuff, and it was really kind of crappy. I felt that I could make it better, like there was more that I could do to be a part of this. So I started working to make myself good.
SOPHIE ZINE: Have you actually released records before, or for right now, is just the demos?
BRINE: I had a band a long time ago called Jiminy Crime. We did an EP and sold a bunch actually. Looking back, it was pretty gross. I've grown so much. At the time, I was just playing bass. I actually started writing my own stuff around then.
SOPHIE ZINE: Now you are in the process of recording your first album. What's the process been like for you?
BRINE: It's been pretty long. All I initially wanted to do was to come in the middle of the night, and get some demos done. Jared got real excited about my songs and showed Chad. He got really excited, too. Over the past year, it's gone from a shitty demo to a six-song legit EP that I could release. Then it turned into them wanting to get me an investor, and make it a real record. The investor thing would be them pulling their connections. Right now, I just plan on finishing recording the album after I graduate in December.
SOPHIE ZINE: Where do you get your inspiration for your songs?
BRINE: It comes from different places. For me, it's not neccessarily happiness, because that's not what I feel. A lot of the songs that I have are about... well, I thought was going to marry this girl, and it ended up horrible in the end. And then I was in love with a girl... and just things like that. I have this problem with feeling kind of unwelcome. It's like I have a complex.
Or it's just things that I feel and wonder about.
Like I have a song that doesn't have a name, but that I call "And the Midnight Shivers" because Samantha Crain sang on it. It's not based on anything real, except that sometimes I think that I'm so fucked up that I can never get to heaven. Just all this evil is trying to get me. Not like a paranoia, but just like, that's how I was feeling at the time. I feel like I'm not able to win no matter I do.
SOPHIE ZINE: What's your creative process like?
BRINE: Sometimes, I'll just be walking, or driving in my car, which is broken right now—I have a lot of songs about my car being broken—Sometimes I'll just think of a lyric, and I'll write it down or record it on my phone. Sometimes it'll be a melody, or sometimes it'll be a chord progression. Generally, I'll have a lyric, and then another day I'll have melody or chord progression, and put them together. Sometimes, I just don't know where it comes from. I won't be thinking I'm going to write a song, but I will. I'll write it in 5 or 10 minutes, and it's one of my favorite songs I've ever written. I don't really have a creative process. It just kind of happens.
SOPHIE ZINE: Who are your favorite songwriters?
BRINE: Paul Simon is definitely my number one. I don't know if I really have a number two—but I have a lot of number twos, you know. There's so many great songwriters: Bob Dylan, Neil Young. There's a guy named Beau Jennings in a band called Cheyenne. You know, you'll have friends who are in a band, and you have to like them because they're your friends. But it's weird: Beau is one of my favorite songwriters, and Cheyenne is one of my favorite bands. Sometimes Beau will call me, and tell me he likes something I did, and I'm star struck. I don't normally get star struck, but I just really respect him as a songwriter. I just love that record.
SOPHIE ZINE: What's the latest record you bought?
BRINE: The last record I bought was a Water Deep record, which is funny because they're a Christian group. I don't really get into that usually, but they have a record called "Sink or Swim" that to this day is one of my favorites of all time. The way he writes songs, he's not bullshitting. He happens to be a Christian, so therefore that theme is there, but at the same time, he's not bullshitting. I like that, because I'm a Christian, too.
SOPHIE ZINE: You are graduating from college next month. Do you feel like that's been holding you back?
BRINE: Absolutely. I started college in 2001. I fucked around, and I failed out basically because I never went to class. I was out for a year, and I've been in and out just doing various things. I'm glad that I'm almost done. A couple of years ago I had to make that decision. I had these opportunities coming up to play and travel, but I made the decision to make college a priority since I had been doing it for so long. And it's a valuable thing to have. Not that it's a backup plan really, but it's something that I can use—not really that I've learned a lot of information, because I'm an English major—but it's really opened my eyes to other things that I've never thought of. Obviously that sounds like cliché bull shit, but that's a legitimate reason why I like college. I'm just learning about the world. I've been doing a lot of writing. Just writing stories and movies and plays has given me a better grasp on how to say what I want to say. And I'm really smart, [he laughs] so...
SOPHIE ZINE: What's next after you graduate?
BRINE: After I graduate, I'm just going to finish this record, and then try to get all the shows I can. I don't have the delusion that I'm going to "make it." I would love it if that would happen, and it's not impossible, but it's improbable—it's probably not going to happen. I had a big long talk with Beau Jennings last time I was in New York City. We ended up just talking, and he's such an amazing songwriter, but he's not a "big deal." It depresses me because he can have that level of talent and that level of success in the indie scene, yet he still has to work another job. That's sad because he's so much more talented than me. It's all about luck and having the right thing at the right time. We were talking about for a long time, and we kind of agreed that you have to do this because you love it. I don't expect to make it, but I would love it if that were to happen. I have kind of made peace with that. I'm going to make a living the way I can, which right now is making music. I'm going to be poor. My parents are always on my case. My mother always gets onto me because I'm not looking for a real job. It's frustrating me. All my life my parents were like, "Find what you love to do, and do it." Now, it's not good enough. To them, playing music is not a legitimate job. I'm not rich by any means, but I make as much as my friends who have gotten jobs. They have to work full time, and they hate it. I get to do what I love. If I ever want to settle down and have a family someday, then it might be a different deal. I'm nowhere near that. I'd love it if I was—love it if I were, proper English, I'm an English major—but I'm not. I'm not worried about what happens five years ago. I want to do what I do. It's a cliché, but life is short. I'm 24 years old, but how much longer am I going to live? Twice as long, three times as long? I'd rather do what I want to do than waste my life away.
SOPHIE ZINE: What are you looking for the most from this point forward?
BRINE: I feel like my life is getting ready to start. I feel like I'm getting ready to be born. I'm close, just a few more weeks. When I get done, I've got free time, and that's all I have. I can just sit and write songs and work and play shows, and not worry about getting a job or about getting back to class on time.
Average set: 35-45 minutes
Paper and Bone
Turnabout is Fairplay
Someday Down the Road
Usually no covers.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.