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NEW ALBUM: Jonathan Wilson - Dixie Blur

 [Image: R-14885333-1583662912-3450.jpeg.jpg]
Oh goody! Jonathan Wilson’s latest release is lovely. He’s headed off to Nashville and has gone back to basics (on the advice of Steve Earle). There is the most gorgeous violin and very fab pedal steel guitar, not played by him, which is unusual – he’s used to playing everything, pretty much, and he’s no slouch in any department, however he had decided that the fiddle should play a starring role in the album and thought that if that was to be the case, he had better enlist the best violinist in the business. Enter Mark O’Connor, who despite being a brilliant violinist apparently hasn’t done any session work since 1990, the reason being the later overdubbing which, he says, is what drove him away, and in light of which, there was a proviso – capture the tracks from live sessions with all the instruments and with minimal overdubbing; fortunately that went well!

The entire album was recorded in a mere six days (hence the title) and it sounds great – the fiddle really shines – magnificent, mind you, so does Wilson’s guitar – he really is an exceptional player. There’s something here that Wilson hasn’t managed to put across hugely successfully before – an earthiness, honesty and warmth, and little to no angst – it’s a happy release, strange as that description may be! Must’ve been some amazing chemistry in that studio. The personnel line-up: Kenny Vaughn - guitars, Dennis Crouch - bassist, Russ Pahl – pedal steel guitar, Jim Hoke - woodwinds and harmonica, Jon Radford - drummer, Drew Erickson – keys, Wilson – everything else except the fiddle – Mark O’Connor. Recorded at Cowboy Jack Clement's Sound Emporium Studio.

It’s Americana/world/country rock I suppose – shades of CSN, Neil Young and Jackson Browne which is hardly surprising, a quite cinematic feel at times, and I heard the Pink Floyd influence on one of these too – he’s still working with Roger Waters so that also figures, except that IMHO, there was evidence of said influence some time back too. 

He hasn’t changed tack completely, there’s no mistaking who this is, and I expect there will always be an element of Laurel Canyon and psychedelia in his music but it feels less contrived. I like this album quite a lot – it needs to be listened to a few times in order to be properly absorbed, I think, not least the lyrics, and happily that will not be a painful experience! A far cry from his previous album which while not awful didn’t seem very cohesive and was a bit too experimental for me - nowhere near as pleasing to my ears. Probably gonna order this one.

Difficult to choose clips but here goes …

“So Alive” -

“Pirate” -

“Korean Tea” -

“’69 Corvette” – 

"The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us." ~ Bill Watterson

I did give this one a listen, well partial listen, last week
made it about halfway through and gave up
I didn't gel with it at all and I should have.

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