Revitalising the Laurel Canyon scene and spawning a classic all in one go.
2011’s ‘Gentle Spirit’ caught the attention with its guitar-driven, parched songs and stylings but in 2013 Wilson released what remains his most consistent and engaging album yet. ‘Fanfare’ is a perfect distillation of 1000 influences and steeped in a Laurel Canyon vibe that just screams authenticity as well as innovation. Each of the thirteen tracks highlights excellent songwriting and musicianship from the top draw with a cast of supporting players including the likes of David Crosby, Mike Campbell, Bentmont Tench, Graham Nash and Jackson Browne.
Wilson’s CV includes some fantastic credits as a producer (Dawes, Roy Harper, Conor Oberst, Bonnie Prince Billy, Father John Misty etc) as well as touring with everyone from Tom Petty, Wilco, Roger Waters and much more. With ‘Fanfare’ he brought everything he wanted to say to the table from the pomp and grandeur of the title track to the screeching guitar solo of ‘Dear Friend’. ‘Her Hair is Growing Long’ is a harmony-laden hymnal of shimmering vocals and acoustic guitar, ‘Love to Love’ a raucous paean to LA and having a good time thumping along the Ventura Highway guitars and Hammond organ wailing away. ‘Moses Pain’ nods at Dylan and then Jackson Browne and as the track gathers pace the contribution of two of Petty’s Heartbreakers lifts it into the stratosphere. By contrast on ‘Illumination’ Wilson plays every instrument and the album loses none of its cohesive feel following as it does the psychedelia of the ending of ‘Cecil Taylor’ with the Crosby Nash voices in full effect.
Each of the thirteen tracks (despite being numbered to fourteen – eleven is missing?!) is worthy of your attention and Wilson is a wonderful performer who should be seen if the chance appears. This is a high benchmark and is truly a classic Americana album. I urge your exploration.