A working songwriter already, Cody Webb’s transition from working behind the scenes assisting other artists with material to an out front role as a performer comes off seamlessly. Webb is a born songwriter and the six tracks on his debut effort are sturdy testimony to his grasp of basic songwriting fundamentals. They are definitely cut in the mold of commercial efforts, but they resist easy categorization thanks to Webb’s distinctive songwriting voice. Even when he’s touching on universal formulas or themes, Webb’s point of view gives them a fresh perspective. The production gives him an immaculately balanced stage to push his material and centers itself on his impassioned vocals and muscular guitar lines. The track listing, likewise, places his debut release in an ideal position for success – there’s a certain unity to the running order, how it evolves from a nominally raucous opening to a much more sedate conclusion, which attentive listeners will likely find appealing.
The EP’s lead track, “More Than a Little”, is a rough-hewn guitar driven number. Six string histrionics, however, don’t dominate the day – instead, Webb subtly integrates his guitar sound into the song’s structure and it takes on more of a clearly defined role helping to shape the track’s melodic virtues. Webb’s remarkable amount of experience playing for live crowds in a relatively short amount of time pays off on songs like this. “More Than a Little” plays well coming through the speakers, but this is obviously a song built for the stage and Webb delivers an all-around performance paying tribute to its potential. The EP’s second track “She Ain’t Right” has a strong pop rock edge coming through that might surprise traditionalists, but a closer listen reveals a nifty bit of genre blending rather than some full on betrayal of country music tradition.
“My My My Girl” has much more of a simmering feel to it than the first two songs, but it shares the same directness and intent to reach listeners as cleanly as possible. Webb’s voice, has such a pleasant familiarity mixed with a bit of gravitas that it’s difficult, if not possible, to ignore him under any musical context. He sounds particularly inspired here. “Nothin’ On You” sparkles with some surprising playfulness and certainly aims for a broad audience, but there’s a whiff of understated ambition – Webb is aiming to take this somewhat formulaic songwriting method and try to do something important and personal with it. The last number of Webb’s debut is entitled “Better at Night” and, while it commands all of Webb’s passion, it is definitely much more of rousing anthem to close things up with. It certainly ends his first release on a high note. Cody Webb’s boyish good looks will get him a lot of press, but don’t let the glossy photography fool you. This is an artist, musician, and writer of some import. The six songs on his first release are clear evidence for his talents and bode well for a bright future.