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This Album Changed My Life: Rich Webb on ‘The Best of Leonard Cohen’

28 April 2022 | 10:04 am | Mallory Arbour

To get to know troubadour Rich Webb a little better, we asked him to tell us about an album that has changed his life.

Rich Webb

Rich Webb (Image: Supplied/Wilk)

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Troubadour Rich Webb’s latest single is a heartfelt and vulnerable track inspired by the poor treatment of asylum seekers in Australia. Love Someone has a simple, but essential message – all humans deserve to live peacefully, and be treated with empathy and respect wherever they may be and wherever they may be from. The message is delivered poetically by Rich, across a bed of soft electric guitar, gentle drums, and an exquisite trumpet solo. The overall result evokes influences such as Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, and feels like the perfect intersection of country and folk. 

The moving song is accompanied by a stunning animated video that illustrates the plight of those affected by war, seeking a safe place to start their lives over. The expressive video was animated by Matthew Lawes-Wickwar of Other Brother Studios in the UK.  

This talented songwriter, who has won a slew of awards including ‘Alt-Country Album Of The Year’ and ‘Alt-Country Single Of The Year’ at the Independent Music Awards in 2019, is seasoned, classic and refined, yet remains observant, contemporary, and interesting as he continues to develop his sound with each release. Love Someone, co-produced alongside Rohan Sforcina and released on Rich’s own record label All Killer Music, is the first taste of Rich’s new album.   

To get to know Rich a little better, we asked him to tell us about an album that has changed his life.


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Rich Webb on The Best of Leonard Cohen (1975 Version):

“I was in a rambling share house in Melbourne in the late 1990s. I’d just returned from a full-on overseas tour fronting a crazy, sometimes brilliant surf rock outfit called Stiff Kittens. Feeling pretty wired and anxious, as you can get when you are totally exhausted. I may even have been wondering what to do with myself but doubt I was thinking that clearly.

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Now, I believe I’ve always had a pretty broad taste in music, but somehow Leonard Cohen had totally passed me by. I’d picked up this Best of CD that morning. I stuck it in the player and something absolutely magical happened. I had to sit down on the lounge room floor and didn’t move until I’d played the record through three, maybe four times. Every word, every phrase, every instrument line, felt perfect.

Everything that was wound up inside me fell out. I may have cried - in fact, I’m sure I did. I loved the poetry, the restraint, Leonard’s rich characterful voice, the classical guitar, the slightly bonkers sections such as the fairground sounds on Sisters of Mercy, the Jew’s harp, the duet (Who by Fire), the French section (The Partisan), bells, accordion and lush backing vocals. I loved the warmth and ease, and the dignity and humility - and I totally fell in love with the brilliance of Cohen’s songwriting.

I went from not knowing Leonard Cohen at all to being his biggest fan, and his music has enriched my life greatly and influenced my music ever since. In hindsight, I think I heard this album at just the right time - when I was a bit lost. But listening to it now, it remains very, very special. As an aside, a few years later, I got to stay at the Chelsea Hotel (track 10) after a show (amazing!). When we got back to the hotel room, I got out my guitar and serenaded my then girlfriend with the song as the New York traffic rattled outside beating time with the old room radiators. She may have been asleep by the end of it, but there was a moment there that was pretty perfect also.”

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For more of our This Album Changed My Life series, go here.
And keep up to date with Rich Webb and follow him on Facebook here.