Album review: Jonathan Wilson, Fanfare (Bella Union)


Roping in guests such as David Crosby, Graham Nash, Jackson Browne and Roy Harper is a high-stakes game: stumble and you could look diminished, diminished, drearily nostalgic or sealed within a hermetic frame of musophile reference. Happily, the North Carolina’s modern hippie’s second album is too ambitious, too fluently fluently surprising and too lovely to appeal to 1970s retro-heads alone.

Echoes of Pink Floyd and lurid emissions of jazz flute transport Wilson beyond the confines of Laurel Canyon’s confines. The lyrics sometimes can sound second-hand – “Cosmic harmony” figures – but with songs this grand (“Fanfare”), groovy (“Love to Love”) and gorgeous (“Lovestrong”), Wilson emerges as less copycat, more kindred spirit to the explorers who came before him.