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Larry Jon Wilson

Larry Jon Wilson – 2009 (Drag City)

Reviewed by Kevin Oliver

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CDs by Larry Jon Wilson

After being gone from recording and performing for the better part of the last few decades, the resurfacing of '70s country soul singer Larry Jon Wilson s one of the year's most intriguing stories. Wilson's voice, an endlessly deep, resonant instrument, was the one thing that still jumped out of his original round of recordings, and it still manages to command the proceedings here.

Recorded in a hotel room in Perdido Key, Fla. with a trio of engineers and producers led by sometime recording artist himself Jeb Loy Nichols, the songs ramble and roam like a late night beach house jam session between friends, with Wilson pulling out both easygoing originals and reverent versions of songs from Dylan, Mickey Newbury, Dave Loggins and even Bruce Channel.

Of the former, Shoulders and I Am No Dancer reflect best where Wilson seems to be these days, in the comfort of being who he is and not who some record label wants him to be. The covers mostly reflect the musical path he's traveled, through the Dylan/Willie Nelson vibe of Heartland and the two trilogies, staples of like-minded artists of his more high profile days such as Mickey Newbury, so it's no accident that a Newbury song anchors each - Bless The Losers in The Losers Trilogy and Frisco Mabel Joy in the Whore Trilogy.

Regardless of where he's come from, having a new collection of songs from Larry Jon Wilson is akin to finding a new pair of shoes that feel broken in from the moment one puts them on. Seemingly impossible, yet instantly comfortable.