Tag Archives: Jonathan Wilson

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Roger Waters – Barclays Center – September 11, 2017

September 12th, 2017


(Roger Waters plays Barclays Center again tonight and then NYCB LIVE: Home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Friday and Saturday.)

Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | gregggreenwood.com

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Dawes and First Aid Kit Play SummerStage on Monday Night

July 24th, 2015

Since forming in Southern California six years ago, the guys in Dawes—Taylor Goldsmith (vocals and guitar), Wylie Gelber (bass), Griffin Goldsmith (drums) and Tay Strathairn (keys)—have won over fans across the land with their high-energy live shows and four albums—including this year’s All Your Favorite Bands (stream it below), which Rolling Stone called “their best LP” and American Songwriter labeled “an inspired record full of space, swagger and warm, analog glow”—filled with tightly written songs, quality harmonies and some good old-fashioned guitar love. But one of the most interesting things about Dawes (above, doing “Things Happen” on Late Show with David Letterman) is the vast array of bands and musicians with whom they’ve been associated. They’ve been compared to the Band, for their lyrics, and Crosby, Stills & Nash, for their harmonies. They’ve crisscrossed the country and teamed up with their musical brothers-in-arms, Deer Tick and Delta Spirit. And in the band’s infancy, they took part in jam sessions at Jonathan Wilson’s house with the likes of Chris Robinson, Benmont Tench and Conor Oberst. But after finding success, Dawes went on to back some of the biggest names in rock royalty, Robbie Robertson, Jackson Browne and John Fogerty.

Sisters Johanna Söderberg (vocals and synth) and Klara Söderberg (vocals and guitar) launched their harmonies-laden acoustic-folk band, First Aid Kit, eight years ago in Sweden, earning comparisons to Fleet Foxes and Joanna Newsom in the process. Now rounded out by Melvin Duffy (pedal-steel guitar) and Scott Simpson (drums), First Aid Kit (below, performing “Stay Gold” on Conan) put out their third studio album, Stay Gold (stream it below), which the New Yorker calls their “most mature and opulent work to date,” in 2014. They also provided backing vocals on Conor Oberst’s sixth solo album, Upside Down Mountain, last year, while Dawes backed Oberst when he performed the new material live. And now Dawes and First Aid Kit team up as a terrific double bill to play SummerStage in Central Park on Monday night.

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A Top Five Look Back at 2014

December 31st, 2014

Colourful 2014 in fiery sparklers

Top Five Albums
1. The War on Drugs, Lost in the Dream
2. Total Control, Typical System
3. Run the Jewels, Run the Jewels 2
4. Coldplay, Ghost Stories
5. Parquet Courts, Sunbathing Animal —Charles Steinberg

Top Five Memorable Shows
1. Feist, Tarrytown Music Hall, 4/10
When I heard Feist was doing a tiny solo acoustic tour, I forked over ducats for this one. There were bits of stand-up-like banter with the audience as she stripped down the material. But what really made the night was a mini-reunion with former bandmate (and ex) Kevin Drew as they dueted on the Broken Social Scene classic “Lover’s Spit.”
2. (tie) Rhye, Webster Hall, 2/21
This performance was a bit misleading because although singer Milosh and producer Robin Hannibal are the members in Rhye, the latter member doesn’t tour. But Milosh’s ethereal voice really is the heart and soul of the pair, and it shone greatest for the hit “Open.” His deceptively androgynous voice sounds at times like Sade or even Antony Hegarty.
(tie) Max Richter, The Bowery Ballroom, 12/7
When I saw that the German-British composer was playing Bowery, I had to hop to it. As Richter usually plays symphony concert halls, it was an interesting choice to play such a smaller venue. The Ballroom felt like a recital hall with the audience entranced. What can I say: I’m a sucker for artists playing unorthodox venues.
3. Glass Animals, The Bowery Ballroom, 7/7
I was recently reminded of this concert when my yoga instructor played “Gooey” in class. Pretty fitting, right? In addition to infectious dance melodies, frontman Dave Bayley’s gangly limbs flayed erratically that evening, bringing to mind another dude named Thom Yorke. The two lads have great music and dance moves to boot. Coincidence? I think not.
4. Phox, Knitting Factory, 7/22
The buzz swirling around this Wisconsin band post-SXSW had me tuned into their album all spring and into the summer. Frontwoman Monica Martin was definitely a bit tipsy, but that didn’t detract from her lush vocals or onstage camaraderie. (Check out Schuyler Rooth’s review of their Mercury Lounge gig.)
5. (tie) Mr. Little Jeans, Rough Trade NYC, 5/10
Opening for Sohn, Norwegian singer Monica Birkenes, aka Mr. Little Jeans, overshadowed the headliner for me. It’s rare when that happens, but this lady has a knack for übercatchy dance-pop songs that streamed through my head all summer. She mentioned how she often came here as a child and was really craving a good slice of pizza. What’s not to love?
(tie) Alvvays, Rough Trade NYC, 7/28
New York City summers are packed with free outdoor gigs throughout the boroughs, but this in-store performance with Alvvays stood out amongst the rest. Their infectiously happy songs illuminated the dark back room of Rough Trade but had folks departing into the night with an extra bounce in their step. —Sharlene Chiu

Top Five Just a Man and His Guitar Solo Sets (chronological order)
1.
Dustin Wong (opening set), The Bowery Ballroom, 4/21
2. Plankton Wat, Trans Pecos, 5/8
3. Steve Gunn, Mercury Lounge, 5/18
4. Willie Watson, Mercury Lounge, 5/21
5. Leif Vollebekk (opening set) The Bowery Ballroom, 11/21 —A. Stein | @Neddyo

Top Five Memorable Shows
1. Sylvan Esso, Rough Trade NYC, 9/11
Both my favorite album and my most memorable live show of 2014 came from Sylvan Esso. Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn possess unwavering emotive energy, and every single lyric and beat has sunk into my psyche . I saw the duo perform live twice this year, most recently at their headlining show at Rough Trade NYC. The duo’s erudite electronica boosted the audience as they performed the entirety of their self-titled debut album plus and few clever covers.
2. Broods, Mercury Lounge, 3/3
Comprised of New Zealander siblings Caleb and Georgia Nott, Broods blend melodic melancholia with sparkling synths and glitchy beats. After getting wrapped up in their self-titled debut EP, I simply had to see them live. Broods played their first NYC show to an incredibly enthusiastic sold-out crowd at Mercury Lounge.
3. Hozier, The Bowery Ballroom, 5/13
Hozier’s rich voice and ardent lyrics sit front and center in his compositions. When he headlined The Bowery Ballroom back in May, he was flanked by equally talented musicians who created dazzling harmonies with choral echoes and rock hooks. Hozier and his bandmates mesmerized the audience, including me.
4. Dan Croll, The Bowery Ballroom, 4/17
Dan Croll’s brand of pop is highly addictive, and his live show is equally intoxicating. He fuses lilting pop, wonky electronica and tribal beats and tops it all off with clever lyrics and airy vocals.
5. Kishi Bashi, The Bowery Ballroom, 6/4
Kishi Bashi has what so many musicians seek, and that is an astounding live presence. It’s as if this guy belongs onstage. Kishi Bashi played back-to-back sold-out New York City shows this past June and stunned audiences with his whimsical finesse and astute lyrics. This picture and my review prove that Kishi Bashi’s live performance is one big euphoric dream sequence. —Schuyler Rooth | @Schuylerspeak

Top Five Albums
1. Under the Pressure, the War on Drugs
Channeling Dylan and Springsteen beneath Adam Granduciel’s vocals and personal struggles to stunning effect, this Philly six-piece put out, for me, far and away the top album of the year.
2. Benjamin Booker, Benjamin Booker
From the very first listen, Benjamin Booker’s self-titled debut sounds familiar, not like you’d previously heard its influences, but rather you’d actually already heard this album. The music is lived in and alive and a joy to listen to again and again.
3. 77, Nude Beach
Eighteen songs that sound like the love children of late-’70s Tom Petty and Elvis Costello. You’ll smile the whole time you listen to it.
4. Dancin’ with Wolves, Natural Child
Recording for the first time as a five-piece, and moving away from gritty garage rock to
a more full-band bluesy country sound (with a side of boogie), these Nashville boys took a huge step forward.
5. Morning Phase, Beck
Six years removed from his previous offering, Beck’s slow-building emotional relative of Sea Change captures you from the very first note. —R. Zizmor | @Hand_Dog

Top Five Memorable Shows
1. Pearl Jam, I Wireless Center (Moline, Ill.), 10/17
Playing a small (for them) venue (for the first time) on a Friday night in the middle of nowhere, Pearl Jam put on the best show by any band I’ve seen in the past four years. They performed No Code in its entirety and covered Pink Floyd, John Lennon, Van Halen and Neil Young. Frontman Eddie Vedder put it best, comparing the appearance to a blind date: “You get there and she opens the door, and it’s like, she’s hot!”
2. My Morning Jacket, One Big Holiday (Riviera Maya, Mexico), 1/29
I could’ve chosen any of MMJ’s performances from this run, but the last night was the longest show and it particularly stood out thanks to the perfect weather, the we’re-on-vacation-in-the-middle-of-winter party vibe and carefully chosen covers (including Jim James singing, “Something, something, something” in “Rock the Casbah.”)
3. the War on Drugs, The Bowery Ballroom, 3/20
I absolutely loved, loved, loved Under the Pressure and was extremely excited to hear it live. The War on Drugs did not disappoint, plus they even threw in a stellar rendition of “Mind Games” to boot. (As an added bonus, the night began with Drive-By Truckers at Terminal 5 and closed with green sauce and salt-baked goodness at New York Noodletown.
4. Jonathan Wilson, Music Hall of Williamsburg, 2/14
It was a Friday night and Valentine’s Day. But if you were expecting something quiet and romantic, you’d have been way off. Jonathan Wilson and Co. delivered 16 jammed-out (but not self-indulgently) songs over the course of two-and-a-half hours.
5. Deer Tick, Allen Room, 3/6
As part of the American Songbook series, Deer Tick played an incredibly intimate, seated show in front of a wall of windows revealing Columbus Circle below. It was one of those moments that makes you grateful to live in New York City. —R.Z.

 

 

 

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Conor Oberst and Dawes Play SummerStage Tomorrow Night

July 28th, 2014

He’s known for his trembling voice, fine acoustic-guitar playing and evocative storytelling, and on his sixth and most recent solo release, Upside Down Mountain (stream it below), Bright Eyes frontman Conor Oberst is in as fine form as ever. Perhaps thanks in part to coproducer Jonathan Wilson, the LP takes Oberst (above, doing “Time Forgot” for WFUV FM) in a newish direction, delving into that ’70s AM rock made most famous in Laurel Canyon. Per Rolling Stone’s David Fricke: “A sumptuous immersion in ’70s California folk pop, it is the most immediately charming album he has ever made,” further adding, “but Like Neil Young’s Harvest and Jackson Browne’s Late for the Sky, this is dreaming stalked by despair, then charged with rebound.” Now out on the road in support of Upside Down Mountain, Oberst is playing live with Dawes, the modern California four-piece closely associated with that Laurel Canyon sound (perhaps unfairly). And tomorrow night at SummerStage, Dawes open the show and then perform a set with Conor Oberst.

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Jonathan Wilson Wallops Music Hall of Williamsburg

February 18th, 2014

Jonathan Wilson – Music Hall of Williamsburg – February 14, 2014


For some, Valentine’s Day is about love and romance, while for others it’s nothing more than a contrivance. And for those in the latter group, Music Hall of Williamsburg was the place to be on Friday night. The tone was immediately set as Jonathan Wilson and his band—Jason Borger on keys, Richard Gowen on drums, Dan Horne on bass and Omar Velasco on guitar—took the stage and launched into the opening (and title) track of Wilson’s second full-length, last year’s excellent Fanfare. It was nearly four minutes of simmering instrumentals before Wilson sang the night’s first words, and it was a signpost of what was to come.

Wilson and Co. performed 16 songs over the course of two and a half hours, putting on an impressive display of ability—while Wilson is supremely talented (as a producer, singer, songwriter and guitarist), his four skilled companions equally matched him. It was like everything that could go right onstage did. Of course, this wasn’t for everyone: Some lose attention when songs are any longer than, say, four minutes, and there were very few, if any, only twice as long as that. However the jamming was never indulgent, rather it was exploratory, as if the songs were trying to figure out where to go next. But none of the tunes ever lingered; instead, it was like that was just how long it took to tell each tale.

If you’re familiar with Wilson and his albums, Fanfare (which features appearances by Jackson Browne, David Crosby and Graham Nash) and Gentle Spirit, you’re no doubt aware of his ’70s influences. And in less capable hands, those influences would be all you’d notice, but his music builds on what came before, like the next logical step in the evolution of that ’70s-rock sound. Highlights included an upbeat “Love to Love” and “Moses Pain”—with many, eyes closed, smilingly singing, “Keep on riding”—Wilson and Velasco, face to face, waging a guitar battle during “Dear Friend” beneath a turning disco ball, “Can We Really Party Today?” with the crowd singing along, “Angel” accompanied by Pearl Charles (drummer for the night’s opening act, the Blank Tapes) on percussion and backing vocals, and an extended, slow-burning “Valley of the Silver Moon”—almost a suite of jamming—with those remaining hooting and hollering in response.

The performance could have easily ended right there, at 15 songs in two hours and twenty minutes. The house lights even came on, but then the band suddenly returned. “Here’s a Madonna song,” said Wilson, and they launched into a 10-minute guitar-shredding “La Isla Bonita.” Sure, it was only the middle of February, but by year’s end, it’s certain to remain one of the top shows of 2014. —R. Zizmor

Photos courtesy of Mike Benigno | mikebenigno.wordpress.com

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The Blank Tapes Play Sunny Music on a Cold Night

February 13th, 2014

The Blank Tapes – Mercury Lounge – February 12, 2014


Those exiting the late Mercury Lounge set from the Blank Tapes last night were walking straight into the first flakes of another snowstorm. It’s been the kind of winter where you just want to get away on a sunny vacation. Thankfully, Matt Adams and his Los Angeles band offered up a rollicking set of sunny California rock and roll to keep things warm … for a little while at least.

The set got hot early with “Uh Oh,” off the Blank Tapes’ newest album, appropriately titled Vacation, with the band balancing swirling psych with a throwback West Coast surf-garage sound. They featured several new songs, including a tantalizing number about extreme heat that had them harmonizing on “mister mister”—that is, the spritz of cooling water (if only!). Midway through, the endearing off-kilter harmonies gave way to more soaring guitar-fueled rock-outs.

“A’bergine” had the guitar riding a wave of Beatles-esque bass-and-drum rhythm. Things got a little darker and trippier with a song possibly titled “Long Black Tunnel,” which, with the repeated lyric “ride the wave inside your mind” and a wild machine-gun guitar solo, was either about surfing or psychedelic drugs, or maybe even both. The latter part of the set was filled with one “oh, yeah!” rock-out after another, the Blank Tapes doing their best to hold off the storm for as long as they could. —A. Stein

(The Blank Tapes open for Jonathan Wilson tomorrow at Music Hall of Williamsburg.)

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Five Questions with … Jonathan Wilson

February 11th, 2014

Jonathan Wilson is a talented guy. He’s done production work for musicians like Father John Misty, Dawes and Chris Robinson. Plus he’s put out his own excellent albums filled with a unique mix of folk, psychedelic rock and R&B, including last year’s Fanfare (stream it below). Wilson has also performed with big-time names like Robbie Robertson, Phil Lesh, Bob Weir and Jackson Browne—while he and his band have won over audiences across the globe, touring on their own and alongside Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Jonathan Wilson (above, performing “Trials of Jonathan”) plays The Bowery Ballroom tomorrow night with Laraaji and Music Hall of Williamsburg on Friday with the Blank Tapes. And ahead of those shows, he answered Five Questions for The House List.

Which New York City musician—past or present—would you most like to play with?
Laraaji, and on February 12th we will be doing just that. It’s a dream come true, as I listen to his music almost every day.

Where do you like to hang out in NYC? And do you ever feel like you could live here?
I always like the East Village and the Lower East Side. I like going up to midtown for the nostalgic experience of when I used to visit NYC as a kid. I’ll try to catch a jazz show when I’m there. It’s the last place on earth with any jazz scene. I’d like to live in NYC again some day, sure.

Do you have to be depressed to write a sad song? Do you have to be in love to write a love song? Is a song better when it really happened to you?
I’m not sure if a song is better if it really happened to the writer. Certain songs are. Like today in the world of rustic Americana banjo totin’, there seems to be a lot of hobo-centric songs about jumping trains to ol’ Virginny and the like. I doubt many young banjo frailers have ever done that, but they still can convince many a listener they have … or maybe it just inspires someone to dream or to ponder a yonder time. Nothing wrong with that. Music many times is fantastical and complete fiction, but everyone loves great fiction, right?

Behind Gentle Spirit, you played the early show at Mercury Lounge a couple of years ago. But following the release of Fanfare, this time you’re playing two shows in much bigger rooms. Is that just a local thing, or have you found you and your music are getting more recognition across the country?
Indeed, we are very excited to play these wonderful rooms. It is quite a jump since the last shows in NYC, but we have been touring pretty much nonstop since then, and the band has gained some great fans and support along the way. We are getting much more recognition across the globe, which is such an amazing feeling. The records are getting bigger, more complex, and the live show is as well. These are good times for us.

What goes into choosing a song to cover, like “Isn’t It a Pity,” “One More Cup of Coffee” or even “La Isla Bonita”? Does it have to do with liking those songs as a kid—or is it just about what moves you now?
In the case of “La Isla,” yes, there is certainly an affinity from childhood. Most of the others are just songs that have spoken to me, that I find a kinship with—songs I want to honor. Songs I want to bring back into someone’s day. —R. Zizmor

 

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Saint Rich and the Blank Tapes Play Mercury Lounge Tomorrow Night

February 11th, 2014

Steve Marion is probably most well known for fronting the cult favorite Delicate Steve.
But last year the singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist teamed up with Delicate Steve guitarist Christian Peslak to form Saint Rich. They quickly recorded seven songs over a long weekend with Marion on drums and Peslak on guitar and vocals, and later added another five tunes to flesh out the catchy Beyond the Drone (stream it below), which came out last October. And tonight at Mercury Lounge, Saint Rich (above, doing “You Ain’t Worth the Night” for KEXP FM) play the early show.

Matt Adams, another singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, grew up in Southern California with songs filling his head. Influenced by the Kinks and the Beatles, but also Robyn Hitchcock, he began recording music at home. As Adams came up with increasingly more material, the project eventually blossomed into a full band, the Blank Tapes (above, performing “Look into the Light” for Jam in the Van). They’ve released a host of EPs and LPs, including the sunny full-length, Vacation (stream it below), out last year. Catch them tonight at the late show at Mercury Lounge and again on Friday, opening for Jonathan Wilson at Music Hall of Williamsburg.

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Father John Misty Plays a Pair of Weekend Solo Shows

October 16th, 2013

Chances are that prior to last year you either knew of Joshua Tillman as the drummer for Fleet Foxes or as the solo artist J. Tillman. But things blew up for him in 2012 with the release of the Jonathan Wilson–produced Fear Fun (stream it below) under the name Father John Misty. Playing a freak folk smoothed out with a little bit of California sunshine—no doubt a direct result of leaving Seattle for L.A.’s Laurel Canyon (“Look out, Hollywood, here I come,” he sings in “Funtimes in Babylon”)—Tillman enjoyed the best reviews of his career, invoking heady comparisons to Gram Parsons and Harry Nilsson, in making the kind of music the Consequence of Sound says provides “an aural parallel to a drug and whiskey afterglow.” Since debuting at Mercury Lounge last May, Father John Misty (above, performing “Hollywood Forever Cemetery” for Minnesota Public Radio) has steadily grown in popularity. And now he’s back in town for two solo shows, bringing his hip-shaking, pelvic-thrusting good times to Town Hall on Friday night and Music Hall of Williamsburg on Saturday night.

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Catch Father John Misty Tomorrow Night at Terminal 5

July 23rd, 2013

Chances are that prior to last year you either knew of Joshua Tillman as the drummer for Fleet Foxes or as the solo artist J. Tillman. But things blew up for him in 2012 with the release of the Jonathan Wilson–produced Fear Fun (stream it below) under the name Father John Misty. Playing a freak folk smoothed out with a little bit of California sunshine—no doubt a direct result of leaving Seattle for L.A.’s Laurel Canyon (“Look out, Hollywood, here I come,” he sings in “Funtimes in Babylon”)—Tillman enjoyed the best reviews of his career, invoking heady comparisons to Gram Parsons and Harry Nilsson, in making music the Consequence of Sound says provides “an aural parallel to a drug and whiskey afterglow.” Since debuting at Mercury Lounge last May, Father John Misty (above, performing “Nancy from Now On” on Conan, and, below, covering the Flaming Lips’ “Do You Realize” for the A.V. Club) has played a bigger venue upon each subsequent New York City visit: Music Hall of Williamsburg and The Bowery Ballroom and then Webster Hall. And now he’s back in town, bringing his hip-shaking, pelvic-thrusting good time to Terminal 5 tomorrow night.

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Jenny O. Plays Mercury Lounge Tomorrow Night

July 1st, 2013

She hails from Long Island, but singer-songwriter Jenny O. began making a name for herself in her adopted hometown, Los Angeles (“I feel a lot freer in California to make what I want to make”), sometimes playing solo acoustic shows and also performing with a full backing band. Her first EP, Home, filled with charming, personal tunes, began to introduce her to a wider audience—as did last year’s tour with Father John Misty. Now she’s crisscrossing the country in support of her debut album, Automechanic (stream it below), released earlier this year and produced by the talented Jonathan Wilson (a House List favorite). Fortunately for us, her current tour brings Jenny O. (above, playing “Well OK Honey” for Jam in the Van) to Mercury Lounge tomorrow night. Go check her out.

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Treetop Flyers Celebrate Album Release Tomorrow at Mercury Lounge

June 25th, 2013

Friends Reid Morrison (vocals and guitar), Sam Beer (guitar and vocals), Tomer Danan (drums and vocals), Laurie Sherman (guitar) and Matthew Starritt (bass and vocals) were playing in different London bands—although Danan is the lone American among them—when they teamed up to form the folkie, Americana-tinged Treetop Flyers in 2009. That they play cool, roots-y music should come as no surprise considering Morrison cites My Morning Jacket, Jonathan Wilson and Matthew E. White as influences. As a live band, Treetop Flyers (above, playing “Things Will Change” for FaceCulture) burst onto the scene by winning the Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition in 2011, putting them on the venerable festival’s main stage and setting them up to open for bands like the Lumineers. As for their recorded material, they put out a few singles and an EP on Communion Records (co-owned by Mumford & Sons’ Ben Lovett) before switching over to Brooklyn’s Partisan Records for debut full-length, The Mountain Moves (stream it below), out today. Join in on the celebration when they celebrate its release tomorrow at Mercury Lounge.

 

 

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Dawes Play Terminal 5 with Shovels & Rope Tomorrow Night

June 21st, 2013

Since forming in Southern California four years ago, the guys in Dawes—Taylor Goldsmith (vocals and guitar), Wylie Gelber (bass), Griffin Goldsmith (drums) and Tay Strathairn (keys)—have won over fans across the land with their high-energy live shows and three albums—North Hills, Nothing Is Wrong and this year’s Stories Don’t End (stream it below)—filled with tightly written songs, quality harmonies and some good old-fashioned guitar love. But one of the most interesting things about Dawes (above, doing “If I Wanted Someone” at last year’s Lollapalooza) is the vast array of bands and musicians with whom they’ve been associated. They’ve been compared to the Band, for their lyrics, and Crosby, Stills & Nash, for their harmonies. They’ve crisscrossed the country and teamed up with their musical brothers-in-arms, Deer Tick and Delta Spirit. And in the band’s infancy, they took part in jam sessions at Jonathan Wilson’s house with the likes of Chris Robinson, Benmont Tench and Conor Oberst. But after finding success, Dawes went on to back some of the biggest names in rock royalty, Robbie Robertson, Jackson Browne and John Fogerty. Plus, at the most epic night of music The House List has ever had the privilege to witness, they inspired one of the loudest sing-alongs Levon Helm’s Midnight Ramble had seen with their anthemic “When My Time Comes.” But, really, why are we telling you all this? So you don’t miss them with talented indie-folk duo Shovels & Rope tomorrow night at Terminal 5.

Jonathan Wilson Plays the Early Show on Friday at Mercury Lounge

May 16th, 2012


Growing up in North Carolina, Jonathan Wilson was often surrounded by music, especially since his father was a musician and bandleader. By his early 20s, Wilson had become a musician himself, playing guitar and keys, and he formed a band with a friend. The group broke up, as most do, and Wilson wandered, living in California, Georgia and New York City before returning to California, specifically the famed Laurel Canyon neighborhood. He opened a studio and produced and worked alongside the likes of Jackson Browne, Chris Robinson, Bonnie “Prince” Billy and Dawes, plus he was known for hosting jam sessions at his house. But he still had songs in his head so Wilson produced his own album, Frankie Ray, in 2007, but it was never officially released. Still, the singer-songwriter was undeterred and a second disc, Gentle Spirit, backed by a full band, came out last year. And now Wilson (above, performing “Can We Really Party Today?” at last year’s Crossing Border Festival in the Hague) has taken his act on the road. See him—and don’t miss Jenny O playing first—at the early show at Mercury Lounge on Friday.

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Two Chances to See Jonathan Wilson

January 17th, 2012


Growing up in North Carolina, Jonathan Wilson was often surrounded by music, especially since his father was a musician and bandleader. By his early 20s, Wilson had become a musician himself, playing guitar and keys, and he formed a band with a friend. The group broke up, as most do, and Wilson wandered, living in California, Georgia and New York City before returning to California to live in the famed Laurel Canyon neighborhood. He opened a studio and produced and worked alongside the likes of Jackson Browne, Chris Robinson, Bonnie “Prince” Billy and Dawes, plus he was known for hosting jam sessions at his house. But he still had songs in his head so Wilson produced his own album, Frankie Ray, in 2007, but it was never officially released. Still, the singer-songwriter was undeterred and a second disc, Gentle Spirit (which you can stream below), backed by a full band, came out last year. And now Wilson (above, playing “Gentle Spirit”) has taken his act on the road and you can see him play the early show at Mercury Lounge on Thursday and the late show on Friday.
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