Wednesday, February 8, 2012
So Much For First Impressions...
When "Gentle Spirit" was released, the occasionally irresponsible British music rags talked up Jonathan Wilson as if he was the second coming of Mungo Jerry. Both Mojo and Uncut gave the record 4 star reviews, and it ended up at #4 on Mojo's Best of 2011.
I took the bait, not just because of the reviews, but because of the kudos given by some artists I respect, like Elvis Costello and Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes. Also, I love Pink Floyd and David Crosby's "If I Could Only Remember My Name," both of which get name-checked as comparisons.
Popped the CD in the player and was immediately turned off by its 78 minute running time.
Actually, check out what I had originally wrote about it:
It's contrived bullshit from another "genius." As Neil Young famously said on "4-Way Street," right before debuting then new song, Don't Let It Bring You Down, "It sorta starts out slow, then fizzles out altogether." By track 4, which is already 30 minutes into "Gentle Spirit," Wilson's vocals become a whisper, as if we're supposed to feel his pain or experience his "high." This record is a relentless display of pretense.
WHOA! Slow down there, Tex. I think I may have had one too many Jolt Colas before writing that brief review.
Well, it's almost 6 months later, and as I am wont to do, I kept at it, chomping away a little at a time, sometimes in shuffle mode on the iPod. I've come around. I still think the record should be half as long, but whatever hype seeped into my tiny brain and caused an automatic dislike has left my system, and I now feel like Wilson's "Gentle Spirit" has a lot to offer. It is very musical and often jammy, especially the second half, which you'll eventually get to. And the Floyd/Crosby link is dead-on.