By singing the lives of the angels, villains and overlooked of Liverpool, Jamie Webster sings the hope-filled daydreams of a generation on We Get By, the singer-songwriter’s debut album, released on Fri 21 August 2020 on Modern Sky. Continuing the story from the rock-and-roll records that spilled from the docks into the arms of waiting beat groups, the hopeful indie-pop of the 80s that faced-down Thatcher’s cruelty and the Merseypsych boom of the ‘shroomy 2000’s, Webster sings his city to tell a story of our times.
Sold out gigs around the UK and Ireland, streaming figures hitting 100,000s in days and lauded by the Liverpool Echo as amongst the 15 most influential people shaping the culture of Merseyside today, Webster as a phenomenon is matched by Webster the artist. He is defined by his talent, humility, sense of community and, above all, an insatiable love of music. Unashamedly namechecking The La’s, Bowie, Shack, Sinatra, Stone Roses and Noel Gallagher in his list of whip-smart sonic storytellers, Webster’s route to fans’ hearts been nothing if not direct.
Recorded at the historic Parr Street Studios and produced by Rich Turvey (Blossoms, Courteeners, The Coral and She Drew The Gun), Webster crafted his 12-track debut with the backing of Lightning Seeds members Jim Sharrock (drums) and Tim Cunningham (bass) alongside Danny Murphy (guitars), also a member of Michael Head’s Red Elastic Band. Having played in bands since he was 16, Webster’s love of performing with his six-string was supercharged through football culture, playing post-match gigs where hundreds of voices joined in his choruses, win or lose. Now the former electrician and his exuberantly confident band generate instant festival atmospheres wherever they go.
“Spare a thought for the working man, has he got a say?” sings Webster, getting straight to the point on Living For Yesterday, a song that’s set light to sold out venues from Liverpool to London. His acerbic tongue, stripping the varnish off crass consumer culture and society’s fakes, is tempered by understanding that each diminished personality he sings about is a product of modern pressures. Whilst never sweet, his melodies cause rapture rather than rage, skimming withering words across the country-tinged, high-tempo jangle of Change, aiming his arrows between the shoulders of ‘the hierarchy’, the media, unscrupulous online marketers and nameless politicians. Such clarion calls and incisive take downs of the late-capitalist age are rare.
Relentless in pursuit of truths that should be plain to everyone, Stop Living Blind (“Take a look outside how they say it is.”) and Something’s Gotta Give (“Across the pond the king is a freak and he’s loaded with silver / stood on an empire of gold, performing his own puppet show.”) sit cheek-by-jowl with simpler, yet no less profound rabble rousers. This Place is as heartfelt, and necessarily simple, as a love song to anyone’s home city can be. The trailing blue-touch paper of Weekend In Paradise, a sorry/not-sorry ode to the blur of the Friday/Saturday bender, the deadening darkness of days that follow and the difference between those that can and those that shouldn’t, is as likely to explode on record as it does during Webster’s packed live shows.
Hands hit sweat-dripping ceilings for his songs, yet the emotional depth to We Get By that tempers notions of pure, beer-swilling laddishness, as heard on The Joker, a gently strolling gem that is equal parts Aztec Camera and Paul Weller, and Grinding The Gears, which stands as effective a document of working-class aspiration as anything found in Oasis’ extensive songbook. “Cos, life will knock you down and it won’t warn you, but there’s another day around the corner” – well, he got that right.
Jamie himself says of his debut: “To describe the album in my own words, I’d say it documents and asks questions of the struggles, joys and escapes of everyday working-class life. A few chords, a bit of passion and a lot of the truth”
Webster’s route from loved local hero to established solo artist with a wide-reaching UK following reaches crescendo in an eight-date UK tour this September, with his homecoming Liverpool date, at the city’s O2 Academy, already SOLD OUT. Webster’s ‘We Get By’ Tour dates for 2020 are as follows:
- Fri 4 Sep – Newcastle, Think Tank?
- Sat 5 Sep – Bingley, Bingley Weekender 2020
- Thu 10 Sep – Leeds, Brudenell Social Club
- Fri 11 Sep – Manchester, The Deaf Institute
- Sat 12 Sep – Glasgow, King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut
- Fri 18 Sep – Belfast, Limelight 2
- Wed 23 Sep – Cardiff, Clwb Ifor Bach
- Thu 24 Sep – London, The Camden Assembly
- Sat 26 Sep – Liverpool, O2 Academy Liverpool – SOLD OUT
- Sun 27 Sep – Liverpool, Sound City
Remaining tickets for all forthcoming shows are available at See Tickets.
Webster originally grew in renown for providing new soundtracks to Liverpool Football Club’s rising fortunes, playing to 60,000 fans attending the 2019 Champions League Final in Madrid and performing around the world, as far afield as Australia and Dubai.