Only One Life: The Songs of Jimmy Webb

Only One Life: The Songs of Jimmy Webb

by Michael Feinstein

CD(Bonus Tracks / Enhanced)

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There are thousands of songs from the '30s, '40s, and '50s that are considered popular standards and Michael Feinstein has covered a good portion of them throughout his extensive career. On occasion, a more modern composition would slink its way into his repertoire, such as a tune by the prolific songwriter Jimmy Webb, whose numerous hits include "Wichita Lineman" and "MacArthur Park." Eschewing traditional pop standards, Feinstein has collaborated with Webb to record his first full album of modern pop songs, Only One Life: The Songs of Jimmy Webb. While mainly focusing on Webb's lesser-known gems, along with a few previously unrecorded songs, Feinstein hones his cabaret-style of performance into a hushed subtlety that ultimately benefits him as well as these impeccably crafted songs. Feinstein has always been one of the most romantic vocalists of the genre, able to express lyrical meanings without overly emoting, and that serves this song cycle of love, loss, and regret remarkably well. His voice simply tells you the story with a quiet yearning sprinkled with sadness that comforts rather than depresses. Although Webb's enduring hit song "Didn't We" has withstood countless versions, it is doubtful that any could compare to Feinstein's sensitive interpretation. The quiet piano strains and Feinstein's reflective vocals tenderly deliver the song's bittersweet meaning as if being recorded for the very first time. Up-tempo tunes are banished in order to maintain the collection's moody air with even the sprightly 5th Dimension hit "Up, Up and Away" modestly held to a slight bossa nova groove that, once again, brings the lyrics to the forefront. This is not the first time Webb has approached his songs in this style, as he employed similar piano-based arrangements on the 1996 solo-disc Ten Easy Pieces, but his voice lacked the depth needed to properly interpret the lyrics. With Feinstein, Webb has found his muse and the perfect voice in which to showcase his compositions. Examples of this can be heard in the muted longing portrayed in the lullaby-like "She Moves, Eyes Follow" or the delicate sadness and sense of loss felt in the aftermath of a break-up in "Is There Love After You?" With each song, Feinstein envelopes the lyrics with a warmth and passion that sends these songs straight to the heart. At the onset, Only One Life may seem a bit depressing, but with each listen the melancholy lifts and is replaced by a reflection of past experiences that are revisited with a sense of nostalgia and solace. With their inspired collaboration, Webb and Feinstein have created a piece of work that stands as a great achievement within both of their long-standing careers and a perfect soundtrack for reminiscing about the days of love with a new understanding and, ultimately, a sense of hope.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/07/2003
Label: Concord Records
UPC: 0013431220329
catalogNumber: 2203

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Michael Feinstein   Primary Artist,Piano
Alan Broadbent   Piano
Matt Catingub   Alto Saxophone,Soloist
Jimmy Webb   Piano,Background Vocals,Synthesizer Drums
Abe Appleman   Violin,String Quartet
John Beal   Bass
Ronald Carbone   Viola
Barry Carl   Bass
David Finck   Electric Bass,Acoustic Bass
Barry Finclair   Violin,Concert Master,String Quartet
Regis Landiorio   Violin
Ann Leathers   Violin
Richard Locker   Cello,String Quartet
Jeff Mironov   Guitar,Electric Guitar
Ron Oakland   Violin
Suzanne Ornstein   Violin
Paul Peabody   Violin
Sue Pray   Viola,String Quartet
Clay Ruede   Cello
Mark Orrin Shuman   Cello
Richard Sortomme   Violin
Frederick Zlotkin   Cello
Jim Hynes   Trumpet,Piccolo Trumpet
Semyon Kobialka   Cello
Krista Bennion Feeney   Violin
Dale Stuckenbruck   Violin
Maureen Gallagher   Viola
Monica Gerard   Viola
Clifford Carter   Piano
Belinda Whitney   Violin
Mindi Abair   Soprano Saxophone
Ken Barward Hoy   Viola
Eliana Mendoza   Cello
Martin Stoner   Violin
Jason Robert Brown   Baritone (Vocal)
Richard Sarpola   Bass
Allison Miller   Percussion,Drums
Roy Chicas   Tenor (Vocal)
Don Sklar   Tenor (Vocal)
Robert Chassau   Violin
David Heiss   Cello
Ron Lawrence   Viola

Technical Credits

Michael Feinstein   Liner Notes
Alan Broadbent   Arranger,Orchestral Arrangements
Matt Catingub   Orchestral Arrangements
Jimmy Webb   Composer,Producer,Piano Arrangement
John Burk   Executive Producer
Brian King   Engineer
Ed Rak   Engineer
David Leaf   Liner Notes
Allen Sviridoff   Producer
Abbey Anna   Art Direction
Glen Barros   Executive Producer
Jason Robert Brown   Vocal Arrangements

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Only One Life: The Songs of Jimmy Webb 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a beautiful recording. I was ten years old when the Fifth Dimension recorded "Up, Up and Away," and it has always been one of my favorite songs. This new interpretation by Michael Feinstein leaves me breathless--it gives me goosebumps every time I play it. This CD is amazing!