'A classic.. Strong contemporary songwriting. Recommended.' -- SingOut! 'Brilliant... a solo tour de force.' -- Victory Review Richard Middleton's solo debut, 'WEB,' is one of the most intriguing independent releases in years. Begun as a no-budget cassette demo project, 'WEB' is an unusually daring record, entirely self-produced and recorded at home using a four-track cassette deck, an ancient Atari computer, analog tape loops, and a host of other 'lo-fi' gear and methods. Known for his rich, soulful voice, Richard sings here with sensitivity and command, drawing you deep into each song's unique musical world. Pushing his motley equipment to the limit, he performs all the instrumental parts himself, including guitars, keyboards, percussion, fiddle, harmonica, and electronics. 'Terrific.. Fine guitar work, a wide-ranging voice, and skillfully crafted, poignant songs.' -- KUOW-FM 'WEB's' musical range is wide: from the sly guitar groove and jazz-flavored finale of 'Never Even' to the high-energy folk-rock of 'Life of the Party,' from the infectious fingerpicking and fiddle breaks of 'Piggy' to the hypnotic minimalism of 'So Young' -- each song tells it's own story in it's own way, yet none is out of place. The result is both a stunning technical achievement and an utterly absorbing listening experience that many in the Northwest scene consider to be an underground masterpiece -- a beautifully realized, moving album that pulls you in from the very first note. 'Middleton is an unflinching lyricist, probing into dark areas to find the raw edge where laughter and tears meet, opening his subjects to the light in a way that readers of poetry might expect from Denise Levertov. This CD is a healing work of art.' -- Victory Review Richard's powerful, award-winning songs are lucid and original, exploring universal themes from unique perspectives. Take 'Never Even,' which traces the economic upheavals of an inner-city neighborhood by following the twisted fate of a single house. Or 'So Young,' a surreal view inside a mind split between grandiose fantasy and an intolerable reality. Or the acclaimed 'Aurora Avenue,' a bittersweet affirmation of hope and dignity in the face of hard times. Through it all, Richard never shrinks from hard truths, yet the compassion and insight in his songs ultimately call on us to celebrate the mystery of life. And his unerring songwriting instincts compel us to listen -- in these tightly woven songs, every word counts, every image hits home, and every line is wedded perfectly to the music. 'WEB' is a richly satisfying album that both embraces and transcends it's lo-fi origins, and confirms Richard's reputation as one of the Northwest's most gifted songwriters and musicians.
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