Jonathan Wilson

Photo Credit: Andrea Nakhla

Jonathan Wilson is the goods. He’s a phenomenal guitar player, singer, producer and rumor has it; the man makes a top-notch guacomole as well. Rare Birds will be the follow up to one of my favorite albums of 2013, Fanfare. Father John Misty, Lucius, Laraaji and Lana Del Rey all chipped in to help on this new album. Here’s a little more on the album and the lead track.

Although much of the album is comprised lyrically of meditations on a failed relationship and its aftermath, Wilson insists that Rare Birds is not really a concept album. “It’s meant more as a healing affair, a rejuvenation, a reconciliation, for others, and for me. I wanted to balance personal narrative with the need I feel for calming, healing music. I think we need journeys in sound, psychedelic gossamer-winged music, to incite hope, positivity, longing, reckless abandon and regret. It’s all in there.”

And, for this one, music critics will need to retire the comparisons to heritage rockers and Laurel Canyon troubadours as they’re hardly useful anymore. Wilson’s new sound takes a synthetic/acoustic, best-of-both-worlds analog/digital hybrid approach to achieve the complexity, sonic density and glossy hi-fi coating of Rare Birds. Heard for the first time on a Jonathan Wilson album are the sounds of synthesizers and drum machines.

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Jonathan Wilson is here


Jonathan Wilson – Fanfare [album review]

by Woody on October 15, 2013

Jonathan Wilson

Jonathan Wilson is some sort of musical savant. I don’t know how else to describe a man who just always seems to know just the right touch to elevate a song. You can take the easy way out and label him as some sort of 70s Laurel Canyon throwback but that would doing the musician and producer a disservice. I listen to his ability to effortlessly provide the most elegant touches to his music and can only he wowed on every listen.

For those not familiar with Wilson, his 2011 release Gentle Spirit was discovered belatedly by HearYa. His production of many of HearYa’s favorite artists has made him a favorite around here. On top of knocking out Fanfare, he also was the producer of Deep Dark Woods excellent release, Jubilee (review forthcoming). And when music luminaries such as David Crosby, Jackson Browne, Graham Nash, Chris Robinson and Gary Louris grace your album, you know dealing with some

There is so much to write about on this album that I could systematically breakdown each song but I don’t want rob of you of the joy of discovering them on your own.

Fazon – Back around the early 90s, Branford Marsalis played with the Dead at Nassau Coliseum. I was lucky enough to have been there. The way that two towering forces of music were able to combine their musical styles was mesmerizing. This tune reminds of Jerry and Branford trading licks in Eyes Of The World.

Love to Love – As I aged, I have become more appreciative of Jackson Browne. A few months ago, I sat around with friends blasting through his tunes for a couple of hours. Love to Love would slip into that mix without missing a beat.

Cecil Taylor – It must have been a real honor for Wilson to have Crosby & Nash help out on this tune. I would like to imagine Crosby & Nash were equally honored to have been asked. A real gem that Wilson gets just right.

Fanfare is an all you can eat buffet of most every musical style I love. Every time I listen to his work, I gorge myself to point of excess and then find myself coming back for more.

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Jonathan Wilson can be found here.



I know the five people that are reading this are asking themselves? Self, why is Woody posting about Jonathan Wilson & The Deep Dark Woods together? Well, in addition to them both phenomenal – Jonathan Wilson produced the 4th effort by The Deep Dark Woods titled Jubilee. Jubilee will be hitting the market on Oct. 1 via Six Shooter Records. We’ve been smitten with DDW for quite some time now. Slowly, they are starting to get their due. In the words of DDW, here is why they chose to work with Wilson.

The desire to translate the intuitive aspects of their live performances to a record led them to producer Jonathan Wilson. As patron saint of the present-day Laurel Canyon folk revival, which breathes new life into California’s richly experimental musical history, Wilson is a going concern in the woozy world of neopsychedelic breakout acts, most notably as producer of Father John Misty’s 2012 success Fear Fun. “His involvement with some musicians who have had an influence on us also tipped us off that maybe this was the right guy. They had a vast knowledge of the equipment and techniques that were used to make some of our favourite records,” Goetz says of the choice to work with Wilson and engineer Bryce Gonzales, who both joined the band during the two-week cabin recording experience.

You can find HearYa sessions with The Deep Dark Woods here and here.


Two weeks later, Jonathan Wilson’s sophomore effort Fanfare is coming out on Bella Union and Downtown Records. For those not familiar with Jonathan Wilson, he is a fantastic talent and producer. Check out the this link to hear him do an unreal cover of Madonna’s La Isla Bonita, complete with War Pigs riff. There are two new songs to sample down below as well as J.J. Cale cover.

There is whole host of people chipping in on this one. Fanfare features vocal and instrumental contributions from many of Wilson’s friends, including Graham Nash, David Crosby, Jackson Browne, Josh Tillman (aka Father John Misty), Wilco’s Patrick Sansone, Dawes’ Taylor Goldsmith and Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench from Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. For Wilson, Fanfare is a celebration of friends and family. Additionally, Wilson and British folk legend Roy Harper co-wrote several songs on the record.

Follow me on Twitter at @woodyHearYa


I became familiar with Jonathan Wilson via a post on Aquarium Drunkard where he covered Madge’s La Isla Bonita. It was simply amazing and had me immediately downloading his LP Gentle Spirit. Its like a blend of Deep Dark Woods and Phosphorescent.

His new EP is a collection of three covers. Pity Trials & Tomorrow’s Child opens with a cover of George Harrison’s “Isn’t It A Pity,” featuring guest vocals by Graham Nash. It’s followed by a rousing take on Happy Traum’s “Trails Of Jonathan,” and a richly layered, blissed out “Tomorrow’s Child” from legendary Japanese psych-rockers Apryl Fool.

I have become infatuated with his work and this EP is doing nothing to dull that infatuation. It is stellar.

Jonathan Wilson – La Isla Bonita

Jonathan Wilson – Gentle Spirit by Redeye Distribution