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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Jack Wilson

Jack Wilson

Review by Larry Toering

Jack Wilson is one of two northwest artists I'm reviewing on the Fluff & Gravy label. While this is primarily folk music, it’s probably the more rock of the two, and I even consider it progressive at that. It's just the right blend of dark and light with stories. There are some extraordinary moments from Wilson himself , but everyone play an equal part, including Ava Cole. Wilson lives in Austin via Seattle, Washington. Both areas have completely different music culture and I can see why, with this music, he would go there to be a full-time musician. There is definitely more of an Austin vibe going on here, with everything from folk and easy listening, to bluegrass, country and  even some blues itself. And it's all purely blended just right, so that's what the album is, “just right.”

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Valhalla

This is a haunting little tale of perfection. It’s just a beautiful way to get the disc started with a brooding folk vibe brought on by Wilson’s unique country tone.

I'll Do the Same
Wilson gets more somber throughout this interesting poetic piece, as he gets right down to the heart of things.
The Cure

This one is a live number. Everyone is on fire here on this rocking bluegrassy tune, as a more serious ear is turned to what’s really going on with the band. This is excellent, and there are nineteen electric guitars used here.

Red Feather

Slowing back down, this is yet another sweet feather-light folk tune with a melancholy vocal. It makes me want to hit replay because it ends way too soon, though.

Clean

This is the only track on the disc not penned by Wilson. Instead, it's a Johnathon Byrd track, and it has a beautiful violin solo that chills to the bone.

Black Hills Fiction
All kinds of stuff is going on here, starting with a narrative vocal.  It goes in several directions by mid way through before moving back into slow motion before smoothly finding its way home. This, for me, is one of the finest moments on offer.
Dogwood Days

This has a real Neil Young feel to it, but maybe that's just something I pick up on in general. It’s another great tune either way you look at it.

Praying For Misery (Thanks to you)

This is something more of a downer but has some nice pedal steel guitar. In fact, the guitars are getting very tasty at this point. There is no denying the quality of the music combined with the great voice of Wilson.

The Watchers

More fine guitar bits are laced through this one, and it's one of the hottest tracks on the whole thing.

Fell Inside

As the disc winds down this is another slow song, but of the bright variety, as Wilson tells a story so well. The passion really comes alive here, but things don't get too excited. He just keeps it all under control.

The Truth
This is a blunt statement, but a bold way to take the set out. It has a “late-night feel” with Ava Cole adding a strong background vocal performance. The only song that wasn't recorded in Seattle, this was recorded Austin Texas, and mastered in Olympia Washington. It's one of the high points, although it's the final one made.
 
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