The second album from this California-based polymath begins with an orchestral flourish that wouldn’t seem out of place on unrelated namesake Dennis’ much-loved 1977 album Pacific Ocean Blue. Indeed, there’s a vocal similarity between the late Beach Boy and this gifted singer- songwriter – both tend towards the huskier end of the spectrum, investing otherwise lush arrangements with a rough, emotive edge.
Jonathan Wilson: Fanfare
The California artist presents his ambitious new opus.
Alongside the panoramic chamber rock there’s a strain of funked-up folkadelica owing much to The Grateful Dead in their mid-to-late 70s pomp, and a more down-to-earth country-influenced style recalling the brighter side of Wilson’s erstwhile tourmates, Wilco.
His pal Roy Harper drops by to gift New Mexico and Gypsy the benefit of his lyrical insight, while backing vocals from David Crosby, Graham Nash and Jackson Browne lend he album an authentic Laurel Canyon flavour.
It may be anachronistic to claim they don’t make albums like this anymore, but Wilson does manage to inhabit a variety of vintage styles without compromising his individuality or detracting from the beauty of his songs. The trimmings are luxuriant, but there’s substance under the surface.