On February 10th the Darrel Webb Band released their album Lovers Leap. I decided to check out the album after my friend Leon at Country Music Minds pointed out that there was a George Strait cover on this album. As is the case with many bluegrass bands there is not a lot of information online about them except for the fact that Darrel Webb has been performing for about 20 years which includes time before the formation of the band.
The album kicks off with a song about a man named John. This man is supposed to be a hobo who goes hops trains and goes from place to place. Wherever he goes however he is chased away and not wanted. “If Your Thinking You Want a Stranger” is the aforementioned George Strait cover. The woman in this marriage has been unhappy for a long time and the husband suspects that she may leave him for another man. The husband admits to his wife that it is his fault that she is unhappy and that is going to change right now. He will be a better man and will be the stranger that she needs.
The title track on the album takes us back a few hundred years to the story of a mountain man named Jim Stewart. Jim falls in love with a native american woman. Her tribe would never approve of this love so her and Jim run away so that they can be together. She abandons her tribe in pursuit of love. The album takes a bit of a sad turn with “Nothing Like a Woman to Bring You Down.” The girlfriend in this relationship has been having an affair with another man and the narrator has had enough. He ends the relationship with her because he cannot be with her after she betrayed him. The chorus of the song talks about how when a man thinks life is going well a woman will come along and bring you down.
“Always On The Move” and “Orphan Annie” both are songs about being away from home. The life of a musician can be tiresome and lonely and the man wonders if it is all worth it. Have his dreams all passed him by like time has?
The best song on the album has to be “Daddy’s Drinking Shoes.” The father in this family has an addition to alcohol and it has caused the family especially his son a great deal of pain. Every time he is going to go drinking he puts on the same old pair of shoes (his drinking shoes). One day the man’s son throws them away in the lake in hopes that his father will stop drinking without the shoes. His father admits to his boy that his drinking is a problem and he feels horrible for putting the family through what he has. He vows to quit drinking and jokes to his son that it is because he threw away his drinking shoes.
The album concludes with “Diggin” and “Forty Acre Blues.” The ladder is an uptempo song about the struggles of being a farmer. A couple of the struggles mentioned are the low price of corn and the high cost of living. With gigantic corporate farms taking over and pressuring the small family owned farms in America it has become increasingly difficult to make it in that profession. “Diggin” is a classic bluegrass coal mining song. The father in this song is a coal miner and prays every night that his son will not be subjected to the same fate. It is a dangerous profession that can have horrible impacts on a person’s health but unfortunately in many communities in America it is the best way to make a living. The boy eventually grows up and joins his father in the coal mine which breaks his father’s heart.
I found this to be a really great album from start to finish. By far my favorite song was “Daddy’s Drinking Shoes” which feels like such a personal, touching story that also does a great job of ending the story with hope and optimism. If I had any criticism of the album it would be that it seems like they played it pretty safe on this album. It’s pretty typical of what you would hear on many bluegrass albums meaning there was little risk taking. Despite that though I definitely recommend this album to bluegrass fans because it is a really solid straight bluegrass album.
Album Grade: B+
Best Songs? Daddy’s Drinking Shoes, If You Think You Want a Stranger
Who Would Like This? Fans of traditional bluegrass, possibly George Strait fans