Release Date: Oct 2, 2012
Record label: IdÃ©e Fixe
The debut solo album from the Constantines’ frontman Bry Webb, Provider, might come as a bit of a shock to long-time fans of the lauded Canadian indie rock group, which has either broken up or gone on hiatus, depending upon who you talk to. You won’t hear the Fugazi-meets-Springsteen sound that the Constantines were (are?) known to mine on Provider. Instead, you get some very slow and sadly beautiful songs played in a bluesy/country style.
On his solo debut, Provider, Bry Webb (The Constantines) has stripped his music bare, reflecting upon past life and acknowledging his new responsibilities to his family. Webb’s knack for purging the sentimentality out of these seemingly trite topics of conversation is most commendable. His voice gives him his agency; unpolished, unpretentious, and understanding, his singing style is somber and heavy, like Leonard Cohen’s but with a bit more bark to it.
On his first solo album, former Constantines vocalist/guitarist Bry Webb effectively puts to work the "keep it simple, stupid" approach. The story is that he'd tried to record many of these songs previously as the Harbourcoats but got caught up in endless multi-tracking that left him with songs so densely layered that their essence was lost. On this go, he opts for lots of breathing room (as well as the most exquisite red-black-and-gold artwork packaging, courtesy of Standard Form).
After the end of the Constantines and a self-imposed hiatus, Bry Webb has re-emerged with an inspired new record of stark, intense songs. A gifted guitarist and one-of-a-kind lyricist blessed with a mighty voice, Webb's charisma as the Cons' lead singer always belied the reality that he's a pretty quiet, unassuming guy with a lot of thoughts swirling through his busy mind. He spent so much time in his head when his band halted their decade-long run in 2010 that it crippled him musically; he simply saw no way forward with his latest songs.