Jonathan Wilson – Gentle Spirit

January 01, 1970

(Yep Roc/Bella Union)


At first, it would be easy to write Jonathan Wilson off as
just another doe-eyed troubadour with a heart on his sleeve and references
firmly locked into early ‘70s singer/songwriter style. Yet, that’s only a
passing impression that further evolves as the aptly named Gentle Spirit winds on. With an aborted debut disc attempted
approximately five years back, it allows for Wilson’s
formal bow, although there are times when Wilson’s
meandering style emphasis on ambiance turns on a twilight sound.


Hushed vocals and an acoustic thread anchor most of these
selections, but on songs such as “Desert Raven,” “Canyon in the Rain” and
“Natural Rhapsody,” the spacey set-ups recall the Moody Blues, Abbey
and especially Pink Floyd in their eerie
arrangements. Truth be told, Wilson’s Floyd
fixation is almost uncanny, and as the songs build to their cosmic conclusions,
one is tempted to suggest that Wilson
wean himself away from his well-worn Dark
Side of the Moon
LP and develop a more emphatic resolve. Still, with Nick
Drake a well-worn template, it’s nice to see that this forlorn balladeer has
another forebear to turn to. In this case anyway, ambiance is everything.


Raven,” “Canyon in the Rain,” “Natural Rhapsody” LEE ZIMMERMAN

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