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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • Webb to perform at Opera House

  • Music is a shared experience that can bring all walks of life together.
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  • Music is a shared experience that can bring all walks of life together.
    In more than 40 years in the music industry, songwriter Jimmy Webb has seen it happen.
    He has become famous for songs like “By The Time I Get To Phoenix,” “Wichita Linemen” and “MacArthur Park.” Although written for different artists and heard by fans of all kinds, it’s the music that binds them.
    “They (fans) are from all walks of life — they’re doctors, they’re scientists, they’re teachers and farmers  — but they all gather together for that experience they all share because the music reaches out 360 degrees and really insinuates itself into every part of a person’s life,” he said. “We get married to music, we get buried to music and, in between, we party to music. And we dance and we sing to one another all our lives. It’s what we do.”
    McPherson will become a part of that journey as he performs at 7 p.m. Saturday at the McPherson Opera House. The Oklahoma-native has never performed in McPherson before, and is looking to expand his touring schedule.
    “I’m just looking for the Jimmy Webb fans who I know are there,” he said. “I think there are a few and I want to do a show for them. I love the idea of coming to McPherson, I love the people of the Midwest, and I can’t wait to be with you.”
    Amid performing famous hits, Webb said he will tell stories of the inside workings of song writing, such as his work with Glen Campbell, Richard Harris, Art Garfunkel and the Fifth Dimension.
    “It’s really meant to be a lot of fun,” he said of performing. “Rather than a stand-up comedian, sometimes I think I’m a sit-down comedian while I’m sitting at the piano.”
    His visit will usher in his newest album, “Just Across the River Volume Two,” due for release in September. The album’s predecessor came out in 2010.
    Webb said these songs, along with all his others, are inspired from above.
    “I seriously pray a lot,” he said. “I think all writers are in the same boat in that we kind of have to wait for that moment of inspiration to show up. Some don’t believe in inspiration, and I do, and it’s carried me through most of my career. I get a little help from above, and we keep going.”
    Page 2 of 2 - He should know. In fact, his music experience recently led him to be elected as chairman of the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Through this group, he hopes to inspire songwriters through a new competition and possibly a television show.
    “My life is full of a lot of fun and activity,” he said. “It’s all to do with song writing and passing that on to another generation. How can you imagine a society without songs and songwriters? It’s always been my message to young writers that writing songs is as important as being an astronaut.”
    As he inspires others, he will continue to develop his own skills.
    “I have new music,” he said. “I’m excited and looking forward to doing a brand new album with brand new songs.”
    Tickets to Webb’s show in McPherson can be found at www.mcphersonoperahouse.org or by calling 241-1952. Cost is $34, $30, $26 for adults and $10 for students.
    Contact Jenae Pauls at jenae.pauls@mcphersonsentinel.com and follow her on Twitter @PaulsSentinel
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