Posted on: June 21, 2007 Posted by: James McQuiston Comments: 0

Johnathan Wilson – Frankie Ray / 2007 Koch / 16 Tracks / / / Reviewed 17 June 2007

The tag that I see Wilson tagged with is “rock”. I would have to not agree with that, as songs like “Calvary” rely much more on a country-western and seventies pop sound than anything remotely close to rock music. The walking bass line, the strung-out vocals, everything on “Frankie Ray” seems to put Wilson into a C&W box.

The smart way that Wilson crafts eir output on “Calvary” ensures that individuals that are both fans of the older C&W style and those into pop-influenced styles will be able to appreciate what comes forth. Even as I type this, I hear a little Randy Newman in the tracks of “Frankie Ray”. “Alabaster Dove” directly goes into a style that is a little more insistent and intricate than “Calvary”, and features the guitar in a much more prominent role than during earlier tracks. The more smoky sound of Wilson’s vocals during this track give individuals a much different style with which to associate Wilson with. The track is not as linked up with the earlier pop stylings of “Frankie Ray”, but one has to think that Wilson will be able to switch one group out with another. The inclusion of strings during the middle parts of “Alabaster Dove” give the track (and by extension, the entirety of the disc) more body; the twinkling sound of the percussion that is placed on the track is the cherry on the top of an already-impressive song. Individuals of a wide array of musical tastes will be able to find something that they can dig when they put on “Frankie Ray”.

The best thing about Wilson on “Frankie Ray” is that there are so many ways that Wilson can go on later albums. While this album seems to be a little bit heavy on the country influence, there are moments here that show me that Wilson can easily shift gears and go into the rock style without much in the way of change. Koch is looking forward with Wilson, even if what Wilson is doing on “Frankie Ray” is looking back towards earlier styles of American music. The songs are pop for a different period, and while there are not the overtures to current styles present to make this into a million seller, individuals that have the ability to hear “Frankie Ray” will be firmly behind Wilson at the end of the disc. Pick it up.

Top Tracks: Calvary, Alabaster Dove

Rating: 7.4/10

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