Hometown sound with progressive style
Jonathan Wilson is a multi-instrumental, studio musician best known for his works as a producer and session musician. Working with the likes of Roger Waters and Father John Misty, Wilson has proven a formidable musician within the competitive scene, and his solo work has been given a big boost by his rabid work habits. Aside from his works with instruments, Wilson is credited with having revitalized a dying Laurel Canyon music scene through his production work, as well as the various jam sessions put on by him with the various musicians in the surrounding Los Angeles area. Coming in with his seventh and newest record, Dixie Blur, fans of all genres should expect a solid album, this being his first works in two years.
Dixie Blur is a mesh of genres that all lies within one focal point: Wilson’s upbringing in North Carolina. Developing off the various eccentric artists he has worked with, and meshing it with the southern-bluesy sounds of North Carolina proves fruitful, as Wilson comes with an easy to listen to album with plenty of minor details for the musician listeners. Opening track “Just For Love” feels like it could’ve been written by Roger Waters, with Wilson using progressive instrumentation and smart reverby vocals that invoke the tones and emotions Waters uses in his own solo work. This makes sense, as Wilson filled in for David Gilmour’s lead and rhythm vocals for the Pink Floyd songs performed on Waters’ most recent tour.
The whole album has this feel of a progressive-country album, and prog-rock seems to be a massive influence on the sound on this album. While Wilson in the past has focused on psychedelic, phased-out and reverberated sounds to drive his music, this new album seems to make more of the shift in a calmer direction. Track “’69 Corvette” at first glance seems like it could be a tell-tale country song about the same topics but turns out to be a rumination on home and comfort, with soothing instrumentation. “Oh Girl” is a piano-driven ballad about love that features sweeping slide guitar reminiscent of Steve Miller Band tunes.
The album can get sort of familiar throughout. Instrumentation is generally the same and song structure does not really deviate. Some parts get a little slow without a heavier percussive element, and the feeling like this could be a Roger Waters country album is very high. However, the album shows a clear sense of musicianship and is a far cry from the normal everyday country album. Overall, the album is pleasing and soothing, and Jonathan Wilson does a fantastic job of meshing the genres that he is familiar with, as well as using the influences of the people he has worked with.