Four years ago Miami Springs singer-songwriter Amy Carol Webb released the exquisite Come Take the Waters: Florida Songs, Florida Friends Vol. 1, to celebrate the places and people of Florida in folk song.
That album, mostly recorded live on campgrounds throughout the state with local musician friends such as Grant Livingston, Ron Litschauer and Mindy Simmons, featured music that flowed from the banks of the Withlacoochee in Dunnellon to the sassy country diner Tami’s in Dade City.
A second volume was a given. On Saturday in Fort Lauderdale, Welcome Home: Florida Songs, Florida Friends Vol. 2, debuts with a CD release concert.
Welcome Home, Webb says, “is an extension of the first because in the midst of working on the first one I realized there were more musicians I wanted to work with than I could fit on one CD. . . . It had to wait its turn for some of the other music pushing its way through. It’s like kids. They insist it’s their turn.”
Welcome Home mixes Webb’s melodic originals with carefully chosen covers from late Florida songwriters Ann Thomas, Will McLean and Steve Blackwell. Thomas’ The Storyteller is particularly poignant as it details a conversation between a grandmother and child about the loss of magical, mythological beings over time, culminating with the demise of the Florida manatee. The message is a gentle reminder to preserve our endangered ecosystem.
“Songwriters at their finest can be great prophets, and she certainly was,” Webb says of Thomas. The song also continues Webb’s fondness for finding and restoring old instruments she finds along her travels. The music room in her warmly-decorated home, where much of her material is mixed or recorded, is akin to a museum of grand old instruments. On The Storyteller, a haunting melodic line played on an antique German squeezebox that she found in a flea market in Maryland weaves its way under the acoustic guitars and Webb’s crystalline voice. The harmonious effect brings to mind a lost Simon & Garfunkel classic.
Barking dogs, a wind storm and passing diesel trucks layered into the mix lend ambience, as new songs like Wakin’ Up in White Springs, In My Florida and the title track take listeners on a tuneful road trip from North Florida to Key West with stops in Lake City, Punta Gorda, Sarasota and St. Augustine.
“What’s interesting with this one is it took a far more contemplative turn than anything I’ve done so far,” Webb said. “My reverence for the people who make the music, and Florida’s particular history in the music, has deepened so perceptively. I really was more deeply aware of the uniqueness of our music community here. I wanted to not only reflect that community but to honor that community.”
• Amy Carol Webb performs at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Labyrinth Café at Unitarian Universalist Church, 3970 NW 21st Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets: $17 advance, $20 door. Call 954-478-8637. Follow @HowardCohen on Twitter.