Gail Davies will begin production next week on Caught in a Webb, an all-star tribute album to Webb Pierce. The project will feature such luminaries as Mark Knopfler, George Jones, Willie Nelson, Lucinda Williams and Dwight Yoakam.
Pierce dominated the country charts during the 1950s, outstripping such formidable competitors as Eddy Arnold, Lefty Frizzell and Jim Reeves. Proceeds from the album will be given to the Minnie Pearl Cancer Foundation, Davies reports. All participants are donating their services.
"Most girls grow up wanting to be Patsy Cline," Davies says. "I wanted to grow up to be Webb Pierce." Indeed, Davies' first charted single, "No Love Have I" in 1978, was a cover of Pierce's 1959 hit.
While Davies is best known as a singer and songwriter, the Encyclopedia of Country Music also credits her as "the first woman in country music to produce and arrange her own recordings." She says she started planning the Pierce album about three months ago. No deal has yet been struck with a record company for the album.
Noting that there may be some last-minute shifts in the talent lineup and repertoire, Davies says these are the artists who have agreed to participate and the Webb Pierce hits they will record: Willie Nelson, "That's Me Without You"; Lionel Cartwright, "That Heart Belongs to Me"; Crystal Gayle, "More and More"; Mandy Barnett, "Slowly"; Emmylou Harris, "Wondering"; George Jones, "Yes I Know Why"; Lucinda Williams, "I'm Tired"; Rosie Flores, "I Ain't Never"; and Guy Clark, "Honky Tonk Song."
Also contributing are: Dwight Yoakam and Debbie Pierce (Webb's daughter), "Why Baby Why"; Dale Watson, "In the Jailhouse Now"; Billy Walker, "I Don't Care"; Robbie Fulks, Joy Lynn White and Jamie Johnson, "Tupelo County Jail"; Hank Williams III, "If You Were Me"; Gail Davies and Chris Scruggs, "It's Been So Long"; BR549, "There Stands the Glass"; the Del McCoury Band, "I'm Walking the Dog"; and Kevin Welch and Jan Howard, "Even Though."
The participating musicians are Steve Fishell, Weldon Myrick, Johnny Cox, Stu Basore, Kenny Vaughan, Pat Bergeson, Chris Nole, Rodger Morris, Rob Price, Dave Rowe, Hoot Hester, Kenny Sears, Hank Singer, Harold Bradley and the Jordanaires.
Davies says her target date for releasing the album is mid- to late October. She is also planning to stage a benefit concert around the album on Oct. 24.