Jonathan Wilson: Gentle Spirit (Bella Union) | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Tuesday, May 26th, 2020  

Jonathan Wilson

Gentle Spirit

Bella Union

Oct 06, 2011 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

With his soft touch, multi-instrumental melancholy, and airy vocals, North Carolina native Jonathan Wilson might get some comparisons to Bon Iver. But what is most evocative in Wilson's debut album is the sound of the place where he recorded it: Los Angeles' Laurel Canyon. Gentle Spirit very much echoes a 1970s, laid back, country/folk/psych L.A. vibe, so much so that one might even think they hear Neil Young or Joni Mitchell on background vocals. "Desert Raven" plays like a cross between The Allman Brothers Band and David Crosby circa 1971's If I Could Only Remember My Name, with some lush orchestration laid overtop. "Natural Rhapsody" floats on well past the eight-minute mark, with its hazy instrumentation and breathy vocals. "Woe Is Me" sounds like Jefferson Airplane and The Byrds jamming, with a two-minute Television-esque guitar solo at the end. And the over ten-and-a-half-minute closer, "Valley of the Silver Moon," rocks out like Crazy Horse-era Neil Young. The problem is that, at 78 minutes, Gentle Spirit hangs around too long. It's easy to see how Wilson might have made two albums out of this material. It's engaging stuff. It just outstays its welcome a bit. (

Author rating: 6/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10


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October 12th 2011

78 minutes is too long? What is wrong with people’s attention spans these days.

March 20th 2012

Oh yeah, fubalous stuff there you!