Multiple Grammy-winning songwriter Jimmy Webb has topped the charts repeatedly from pop to country to disco–and even rap– with interpretations by some of the industry’s greatest, from Glen Campbell to Art Garfunkel to Linda Ronstadt and so many others. Whatever one’s preferred genre of music, chances are there’s a Jimmy Webb song on your personal playlist – “MacArthur Park,” “Wichita Lineman,” “Up, Up and Away” – touchstones for a generation that continue to be covered by new artists. Now in his touring show “An Evening with Jimmy Webb” and his new literary memoir, THE CAKE AND THE RAIN, Webb brings fans of his music a unique connection to their favorite songs, revealing the stories behind his hits and a career trajectory that took a teen preacher’s son from a farm town in Oklahoma to the top of his longed-for profession, with pitfalls and blessings in equal measure between.
In concert, the man who gave the world what has been called “the first existential country song” (“The Highwayman”) and confounded generations of radio listeners with the brilliance of a lyric about a cake left out in the rain enhances his virtuoso performance of iconic tunes with riveting tales of the inspiration behind some of pop music’s biggest songs and singers, and a humorous tour into the days and nights of a songwriting prodigy, a lesson in pop culture, an insider perspective on the Nixon Sixties, the Rat Pack heyday, the London Mods, Laurel Canyon and more, told by a charming yarn spinner who hasn’t lost sight of his roots despite decades of international fame. More than a concert, an evening with Jimmy Webb in performance is a master class you can sing along with. As Webb performs five decades of music on this tour, the songs prove evergreen, resonating with his longtime fans as well as new devotees introduced to the music through covers by modern chart toppers including Kanye West (“Do What You Gotta Do” sung by Rhianna on “Famous”), Five for Fighting (“All I Know”), Rumer (who stormed the UK in 2012 with her take on “P.F. Sloan”) or any number of reinterpretations of “Wichita Lineman” by R.E.M., Urge Overkill, Keith Urban, Homer Simpson, and more. Songs made famous as recorded by an impressive and ever-widening range of artists are discovered anew with revelations by the man who first brought them to life on the piano.