Take a musical journey with Webster, Gerber

By From page A7 | January 08, 2014


Chris Webster and Nina Gerber will perform at The Palms. Courtesy photo


Who: Chris Webster and Nina Gerber

When: 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11

Where: The Palms Playhouse, 13 Main St., Winters

Tickets: $20, available at Armadillo Music, 205 F St. in Davis

Info: 530-758-8058

Take a trip down Apple Blossom Lane with Chris Webster and Nina Gerber. The duo will perform at 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11, at The Palms Playhouse, 13 Main St. in Winters.

Local singer-songwriter Chris Webster teamed up with longtime friend and guitarist Nina Gerber and produced “Apple Blossom Lane,” an album of soulful covers and fan favorites.

Webster, one of the lead vocalists of the local super group, Mumbo Gumbo, also has had a solid solo career. Gerber has a long history in the Northern California music scene, accompanying such artists as Kate Wolf, Steve Seskin, Dave Alvin and Karla Bonoff.

Webster and Gerber met more than 25 years ago.

“We met at The Palms when it used to be on the edge of Davis,” Webster told The Enterprise in a recent interview. “I heard her playing and the owner of The Palms said, ‘You guys should meet and play music together.’ ” Which is exactly what happened.

“We were up in Nevada City at a place called Cowboy Pizza,” Webster recalled. “We ended up playing together and it evolved from that.”

In the album liner notes, Gerber states: “Never ones to rush into anything, after 25-plus years of playing music together, it seemed like the next logical step was to record our first duo CD. It’s been a pleasure to play guitar behind such an awesome voice.”

The songs on “Apple Blossom Lane” are minimal in execution, featuring mostly vocals and guitar.

“It was our plan to do the record just like our shows are,” Webster said. “We do a lot of live radio shows where it’s just us playing, and that’s how we perform. So we thought, let’s do a record the way we perform. Fans that have enjoyed our shows over the years will get a record of what they’ve heard.”

Songs like “Lay Me Down Easy” and “Bye Bye Blackbird” are full of heartache and sorrow.

“We both appreciate those sad, melancholy songs,” Webster said. “We do the slow songs, that’s for sure.”

Although it’s not all downbeat; there are lively songs, too. “Some of the songs are uplifting,” she said.

The duo has been playing many of these songs for years. “Fizz” and “Wild Ride” were written by Webster. “You Just Have to Laugh” and “Back to You” were written by John Salz.

“He was a friend of Nina’s who passed away a few years ago,” Webster said. “This is a way to keep his memory alive.”

“We also play a Kate Wolf song,” she said. “Nina played with Kate for eight years before she died. She was her right-hand guitar player for years.”

A highlight of the album is the instrumental version of John Lennon’s “Imagine.”

“It’s nice to have an instrumental and I love it when Nina plays by herself,” Webster explained. “Also, I just like taking a break,” she laughed.

In fact, Webster took a year-and-a-half-long break from singing due to a paralyzed vocal cord.

“I had just made a record with a certain company and was working a lot, when I found out I had a paralyzed vocal cord,” she said. “A nerve got damaged somehow. It usually happens when you have a tumor, but they checked and it wasn’t that. The doctors didn’t know what happened.”

There was a 50 percent chance of it coming back on its own. “I had to be patient,” she said. “Luckily, it came back and now it’s good.”

Why name the album ‘”Apple Blossom Lane”?

“We recorded it at Studio E in Sebastopol, California. Apple Blossom Lane is near there and Nina is from that area.”

Much of the album was recorded live in the studio, which is inside an apple orchard.

“At some parts of the album you can hear crickets in the background,” Webster said with a laugh. “You can hear the mistakes.

“It was such an organic piece of music and our journey of making music together has been such an organic process.”

The album is available at Armadillo Music in Davis, on iTunes, as well as the musicians’ websites: chriswebstermusic.com and ninagerber.com. Or support the musicians directly and pick up a copy at the show.

Tickets are $20 and available at Armadillo Music, 205 F St. in Davis. For more information, call 530-758-8058.

Landon Christensen

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