August 6, 2011 12:18 am

Jonathan Wilson: Gentle Spirit

The singer’s solo debut draws you in with hypnotically pattering rhythms and dreamy singing

Jonathan Wilson loves the hippy songwriters that clustered in LA’s Laurel Canyon in the 1970s. He believes you should listen to his debut solo album on vinyl for maximum impact. Ho hum, another long-haired American throwback with a head humming with Crosby, Stills and Nash tunes.

But Gentle Spirit isn’t the musty, reverential experience one fears. Song titles verge on satire – “Canyon in the Rain”, “Magic Everywhere” – yet Wilson draws you into his world with sprawling harmonies, hypnotically pattering rhythms and dreamy singing, with the occasional psychedelic guitar solo lighting up the landscape like a flare. It will make a Laurel Canyonite of even the fiercest modernist.

Jonathan Wilson

Gentle Spirit

(Bella Union)

4 stars

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