Danny George Wilson “Another Place”

Loose Music, 2021

This diverse mix of songs shows it is possible to get a second first impression for this already well-known Americana voice.

For Danny and the Champions of the World frontman Danny George Wilson, inspiration for his second full-length solo outing came from a place that has inspired so many music fans through the years: a record shop. “Music I’d barely thought of came into my life – like Jazz and Japanese ambient music – showing me new horizons,” he has said of his experience co-managing Union Music Store in Sussex since 2018. The store helped introduce him to Hamish Benjamin too, who would go on to produce what would become ‘Another Place’.

‘Lost Future’ is a sonically rich and layered opener (with what sounds like a violin or viola but is actually a sample of bowed cymbal, stretched and reversed), and Wilson’s signature Bob Dylan-esque vocals add a little roughness to contrast with the smooth. “What did you expect? / Gratitude or bitterness? / Now you’re feeling like a fool / Stuck somewhere between the two,” he asks, world-weary. ‘Sincerely Hoping’ is a much bouncier affair, at least musically as its lyrics gradually fall into words of disappointment (“Please let me know for heaven’s sake / It’s getting hard to stay awake / The more we give the more we take / Let’s keep it up until we break”).

The energetically youthful ‘Heaven for Hiding’ truly captures the spirit of new love, wondrous uncertainty and all: “Feels like lightning / Oh will you love me tonight?” he wonders hopefully, while ‘Can You Feel Me?’ sees him frustratedly asking for reassurance as a sci-fi scream echoes in the background. ‘Right Place’ continues with the theme of slightly alien sound effects, this time coupled with strings, while the lyrics share self doubts aloud (“Am I art? / Am I a souvenir? / Push a button and I fall down / Is this the real thing? / Am I a reproduction? / Mass produced before my time”). ‘Giving Away Too Much’ flirts with punk in its tone, jittering but still solid with strong guitar, and it asks questions about how much of yourself you should give to your art before finally concluding: “If winning feels like losing / You’re giving away too much”.

There are two covers on the album, the first being ‘We’ve Got a Lot to Learn’ which Wilson covers fairly faithfully to the original (performed by the band Spirit way back in 1981), but dials the power-pop back several notches as Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy joins him for a guitar solo. The second cover, ‘I Would Be in Love (Anyway)’ (originally recorded by Frank Sinatra), sees another guest appearance – this time by Emma Swift, who provides enchantingly smooth vocals that contrast naturally with Wilson’s on some beautiful harmonies. The last track – ‘Inbetween the Love’ – has a multi-layered musicality that connects it neatly with the album opener, giving the feel that we’ve not just completed our journey, but also come full circle.

When making ‘Another Place’, Wilson allowed himself to be inspired by different sounds and different people, and it really shows in the experimental nature of the songs. While the styles sometimes jump around, each track is always anchored with Wilson’s voice and underlying sensibilities, making all the parts form a thoroughly enjoyable whole.

8/10
8/10

About Helen Jones 62 Articles
North West based lover of country and Americana.

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