Prolific songwriter Jimmy Webb was the guest of U.S. Ambassador Kevin O’Malley’s Cretive Minds series in his Phoenix Park home. The goal of which is to strengthen cultural ties between The U.S. and Ireland through music and the arts. Previous guests have included Andrew Bird, Ben Folds, and John Prine.
The evening featured a discussion of Webb’s life and career, moderated by RTE’s John Kelly, interspersed with some of Webb’s most famous songs. Webb described his start in the business writing a song for The Supremes and a period where there was a great demand for songwriters from Motown. He contrasted this with the current state of the music industry, in which streaming places no value on music and it is not possible for a musician to make a living. He declared he would never had a chance if he started out now.
Webb performed ‘Macarthur Park’ and ‘Wichita Lineman’ which has been covered by a vast number of artists since its 1968 release, including Tom Jones, R.E.M. and most recently by Villagers
He finished with a request by the ambassador of ‘By the Time I Get to Phoenix’; an ode to the evening’s venue