(BH) Bella Union Records have set a September 13th release date for Jonathan Wilson's debut solo album, Gentle Spirit.
Wilson will be heading overseas to perform a few festival dates with Jackson Browne -- he will be opening for Jackson and also collaborating onstage as part of his band along with the band Dawes.
Wilson produced the new record which features Gary Louris, Vetiver's Andy Cabic and Otto Hauser, pedal steeler Josh Grange, Black Crowes singer Chris Robinson and their organist Adam McDougal, Brian Geltner, legendary bassist Gerald Johnson, keyboardist Barry Goldberg and Gary Mallaber, former drummer with the Steve Miller Band and Van Morrison.
Wilson's music is steeped equally in the woodsy contours of his Blue Ridge experiences and the atmospheric guitar reveries of Neil Young and Quicksilver Messenger Service. In fact, Gentle Spirit, an expansive double vinyl set recorded direct to analog tape using Wilson's 1972 console that used to belong to Shelter Records, is remarkably evocative of that golden late '60s, early '70s period when rural and urban sensibilities colluded in producing some of rock's most imperishable recordings. The album features all original Wilson compositions with the exception of his "psyched out" rendition of Gordon Lightfoot's "The Way I Feel." Wilson crafted the album between tours, album producer jobs and the never-ending jam sessions that constituted canyon life. He began tracking in Lauren Canyon, but finished it in his new Five Star Studio in the Echo Park section of LA.
While writing and recording Gentle Spirit, "I was consciously trying to convey a 'dreary day in the canyon,' that was the original concept," admits Wilson. "That was what it was supposed to be. I feel like I achieved that. But, you have to remember the album took a long time, the tracking was done a while ago, and there's a distance there that I guess was supposed to happen. And it's not hot off the tape machine. Things transpired...I was never in conflict or had a self-imposed timetable around this album. Time went by and things were cool and I never felt anything was on a back burner because it was all sort of my process. I was better served by having the material and album unfold over time."
Although an official release of the album didn't materialize until now, Gentle Spirit has circulated underground on sharpie-labeled CDRs through the hands of a select few members of his friends and family. This hand-to-hand virality has created a certain mystique about the album in a manner consistent with its, and the artist's, character and ideals.