Album: Nick Webber – All The Nothing I Know

As someone whose name is ubiquitous, Matthew Stanford (no, I am not the QB), I know one of Nick Webber’s biggest struggles. If you google search Nick’s name, you get three primary responses: Andrew Lloyd Webber’s son (RIP), Craig Robinson’s character from Hot Tub Time Machine, and an Orthopedic Surgeon in Milwaukee with over 4,000 5-star reviews (well done, my dude).

Webber and his friends play around with this anonymity on X and other platforms with posts stating, “Who is Nick Webber?” I do not know Webber personally; I came to discover his music first through his band “A Place For Owls.” Once I tore through their catalog, I explored if any of the band members had other material. I was happy to find out he was working on a solo album.

The album is called “All The Nothing I Know.” There are 10 songs, which clocks in just over 48 minutes. Before I get into the minutia, I would like to say I love this album, and you need to listen to it no matter what genre of music you enjoy. The scale and scope aren’t apparent in the first few seconds, but it grows as the album continues.

First off, this is an ALBUM. The all-caps are warranted because that concept is a rare beast in 2024. Most indie musicians these days (myself included) release endless singles or release an “album” that is a collection of random songs and not one overarching piece of work. These songs belong together and flow from one to the next. This is a no-skips album. Every song has its place and is worth your time.

As a reviewer and a listener, I do not like to place an artist’s work into a single genre or compare it to other artists, as I feel that is a disservice to everyone. Early in my songwriting career, most of my songs were acoustic guitar-based, and everyone said I sounded like John Mayer because it was the one person they could think of who also played acoustic guitar and sang… even though I sounded nothing like him. Nick Webber sounds like Nick Webber and his album deserves your ears.

I mentioned scale earlier, and I want to expand on that. The production on every one of these songs is TOP NOTCH. They sound amazing on all audio setups, and the songs start quietly and build into a wall of sound. This is most apparent on the 3rd track, “Night Terror.” If you aren’t willing to give the entire album a shot, I would start there on your listening journey.

There are a lot of religious themes that are present lyrically throughout the album. This should not impact your ability to listen to and enjoy this album. I am not a religious person, and everything still resonated with me. Webber is clearly passionate about what he is singing, and the tone and quality of that passion are apparent from the start.

The album starts with a song called “Ghost Variations.” Typically, if I were giving a band advice, I would recommend that they do not begin an album with a 5-minute-long song that sounds like a ballad. In this case, I would absolutely be wrong. A minute and 20 into the song, a pulsating drumbeat is briefly teased. As a listener, I am waiting for it to come back as I can feel the build happening when it comes back at 2:14. I am wholly invested in the song as I know it will keep building and variating as it goes. Despite knowing it is most likely coming, the climax at 4:39 still comes as a surprise, and it rips. The song serves as a thesis statement for the songs to follow. Expect the unexpected and come along for the ride.

The second song, “So Close,” has a rolling slide guitar throughout, making this one pop. It would still work without it, but it allows an interesting through-line flow as it varies between parts. Lyrically, Webber has a gem in this song that really paints a picture. “Then, like a bolt from the blue, a chickadee flew and landed on a dish full of rain.”

The third song, “Night Terror,” I mentioned earlier, but to reiterate, check this one out, y’all! It is the quickest 5 minutes you will have all day. The fourth song is called “Of Certain Doubts.” In this one, Webber uses heavy auto-tune on his vocals. Not to get too sidetracked, but that is what many modern ears want to hear! Musicians should use all the tools to make songs unique and how they want to be heard. There has been a gigantic shift in folks auto-criticizing something with heavy auto-tune, which is unfair. It should be looked at like using a distortion pedal for a guitar. It’s just another tool. Webber clearly has a fantastic voice and doesn’t need it for this song; he wants it so it sounds this way. The background choir in this song is haunting and really makes it work.

The fifth song, “Parabola” has a piano base and is more straightforward than the earlier songs in terms of structure. It is an intelligent mid-point for the album and has a great build where we get some unexpected horns! The sixth song is called Longway and is a slow-burn song. A bass part drives it forward; it is simple, but is the glue holds this one together. The faster background vocals accompanying the lead vocals are my favorite part of this one.

Track seven is called “I Tried to Warn You.” Some songs are written from a place of thought directed to the world, and others are highly personal. This feels like a poem Webber has written for his significant other, and you get to be the fly on the wall. The eighth song is “25.” If I were to ever talk to or interview the artist, I would ask about this one. It is seemingly about growing older, and I am curious why they say, “For the fourth straight year, I’ve fooled everyone.” It feels like a particular time window, so I want to know.

The ninth song is the title track and is called “All the Nothing I Know.” I love this one. It does multiple musical shifts instrumentally that are highly effective. It is full-on rocks when it kicks in more than any of the earlier songs. The crowd will start crowd surfing for a few minutes. Stay safe, kids. There is an extended outro on this one that isn’t my thing. It would have worked better if it were the last song, but it goes on too long for me.

The final song is called “Revelation.” It starts with Webber singing, “Just dying to have one unique thought, to find something clever to say.” If you are an artist, musician, or in any creative field, you have felt this way at one point (or many, many points). That impostor syndrome creeps in and self-doubt where you ask yourself questions such as: Am I any good at this? Do I know what I am doing? Will anyone care? The lyrics continue this thought process: “This is my legacy, this is nothing, this is everything to me.” The idea of legacy can be daunting because we want to live a purposeful life, and when we create, we want it to matter. This album matters, and you should listen to it!

I constantly hear folks say, “No one makes good music anymore; it all sounds the same.” Creativity and music have stayed the same; folks’ curiosity for exploration has not. You would think access to every song made for 10 dollars a month would make people discover endlessly. Still, the opposite happens, and they gravitate to what they already know. Let 2024 be the year you start discovering new music again. Thousands and thousands of musicians are making fantastic music that is just waiting to be found. Nick Webber’s “All The Nothing I Know” is a great place to start.

Who is Nick Webber? I don’t know, but I can’t wait to hear what he makes next.

Written by Matthew Stanford
Twitter/X – @stanfordsays
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