Following up on his recent cover of Randy Travis’ “On The Other Hand,” James Robert Webb is putting his spin on one of legendary alternative-rock band Nirvana’s most recognizable classics, “Heart Shaped Box.” Almost 30 years after its original release, Webb taps into another one of his musical influences while stamping this popular 90’s hit with his unique style. He adds haunting piano notes to enhance the dark and moody melody the song is so famous for.
For some, it will be a reimagining of a nostalgic classic as many will hear it for the first time as a brand new experience. The Oklahoman’s hope is to share his wide range of musical influences and just how much they have impacted his own musical style with fans. Listen to “Heart Shaped Box” here.
Webb explains his approach for this record. “I’m a huge fan of 90s music in general and this song from the Seattle and alt-rock movements is one of my favorite melodies of all time. It’s haunting and outshines the lyrics. So for a fresh take, I wanted to go get away from the noise, the screaming and the grunge of the original. You know, take the Nirvana out and let the melody shine.
“So we made it new by going old school and recorded in a very stripped down 70s style–like you hear in classic rock records. I wanted an intimate experience for the listener–just the two of us alone in a room together, getting carried along by the power of the song. To capture that, we did things like intentionally placing mics to get mechanical and pedal noise while I’m playing live at the piano.”
In an exclusive premiere with The Country Note, they said, “while adapting the song’s iconic opening from guitar to piano might be a bit of an instinctive ear-twitch at first, the flow of the keys throughout makes the song more intimate. It strips away the harshness – but gets just as intense during the chorus – bringing attention to the song’s melody, just as Webb intended.”
At just over a year from its release, Webb’s self-titled, Buddy Cannon (Kenny Chesney, Willie Nelson, Reba McEntire) produced album has now reached over 1.68M streams. All five radio singles from the album have hit Top 25 on the Music Row Breakout Chart.
His latest radio single “Okfuskee Whiskey” has been his fastest charting song to date, marking his 3rd consecutive Billboard Indicator Top 40 and has spent the last as the No. 1 most played song by an indie country artist in America on the CDX TrueIndie Chart. A music video for the single was filmed at the Johnny Cash farm and will be debuting in the coming weeks.
About James Robert Webb
As a cross-genre artist, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, and practicing physician, James Robert Webb is steeped in the regional music traditions of Oklahoma. Webb’s music has been featured in numerous press outlets including American Songwriter magazine, Country Music People magazine, Taste of Country and more, as well as around the world on country radio and SiriusXM. Working with GRAMMY-winning producer Buddy Cannon (Kenny Chesney, Willie Nelson, Reba), Webb is a trail-blazing independent Nashville recording artist who has racked up almost two million digital streams while finding success at US country radio stations from California to Connecticut. He has notched a total of eight Top 40 chart hits on Music Row’s Country Breakout chart and five consecutive Top 40 appearances on Billboard’s Country Indicator chart. His last single, “Good Time Waitin’ To Happen” was his highest charting to date, peaking at No. 17 on MusicRow and at No. 33 on Billboard. His latest radio single, “Okfuskee Whiskey” is growing at radio with over a quarter million digital streams to date. Webb has performed at numerous iconic venues including the Ryman Auditorium, the Cain’s Ballroom and a sold-out debut at the World-famous Bluebird Cafe. He has played alongside music greats including Marshall Tucker Band, Ray Stevens and Montgomery Gentry. Most recently he debuted at the famed Smokin’ Tuna as part of the prestigious Key West Songwriters Festival with frequent collaborator and hit writer, Anthony Smith (Cowboys Like Us, Chrome, Run). For more on James Robert Webb, go to JamesRobertWebb.com.