by Bill Pearis

To say that the second album by North Carolina native Jonathan Wilson feels a bit like getting a free reflexology treatment and a small dose of diazepam combined is, accordingly, no criticism. This immersive double-length album is so languid that it might have its own gravitational field, pulling you earthwards to examine the sky in some detail, growing your hair out with every slowly unfurling guitar line. Even if you care nothing for the culture of Laurel Canyon, the Los Angeles crucible of stoned country-rock back in the 70s and Wilson's recent stomping ground, his unhurried, backward-glancing Gentle Spirit might speak to you, in a whisper laden with effects...

...Wilson's prescription for our ills is simple: flutes, pianos, organs, guitars (acoustic and electric, and lots of them) and guests (even more of them). This album grew - very slowly - out of regular Wednesday night jam sessions that Wilson hosted at his old Laurel Canyon base...Jonathan Wilson is a producer, guitar-maker and veteran of Robbie Robertson's, Jackson Browne's and Elvis Costello's bands. Wilson's fellow Canyon noodlers included Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes (who doesn't appear on the album), plus a Jayhawk, bits of the Steve Miller Band and Andy Cabic of Vetiver, another bunch of psychedelically leaning longhairs, all of whom do. [The Observer]

Jonathan Wilson's Gentle Spirit made its way onto many Best of 2011 lists, coming in at #4 on MOJO's year end coverage (check out the full list below). Mind you, Wilson's music -- which recalls the heyday of early '70s Laurel Canyon -- is prime fodder for a magazine that has a Beatle on the cover at least once a year, but Gentle Spirit is a genuinely gorgeous album that exudes a West Coast vibe even in the coldest New York winter. Spotify users can listen to the album here.

Jonathan Wilson hits the East Coast next week, which will include three stops in NYC: he plays two nights at  Mercury Lounge (an early show on January 19 and a late show on January 20 with Quilt) and then hits the Rock Shop on January 21. He also plays Philadelphia's World Cafe Live on January 18. Click through for those dates in list form (as well as European dates), plus a few music videos and MOJO's full 2011 list...


Jonathan Wilson - Desert Rain

Jonathan Wilson - Natural Rhapsody

Jonathan Wilson - Canyon in the Rain

50 Joe Henry – Revere
49 Frank Ocean – Nostalgia, Ultra
48 Wire – Red Barked Tree
47 Radiohead: The King Of Limbs
46 Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
45 tUnE-yArDs – w h o k i l l
44 Glen Campbell – Ghost On The Canvas
43 Gwilym Simcock – Good Days At Scholss Elmau
42 Booker T. Jones – The Road From Memphis
41 Destroyer – Kaputt
40 Charles Bradley - No Time For Dreaming
39 Arctic Monkeys – Suck It And See
38 The Sand Bag – All Through The Night
37 Duane Eddy – Road Trip
36 Shabazz Palaces – Black Up
35 Tinariwen – Tassili
34 Gillian Welch – The Harrow & The Harvest
33 Glenn Jones – The Wanting
32 Björk – Biophilia
31 Nick Lowe – That Old Magic
30 Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost
29 Wilco – The Whole Love
28 Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes
27 Arbouretum – The Gathering
26 Drive-By Truckers – Go-Go Boots
25 The Stepkids - The Stepkids
24 EMA – Past Life Martyred Saints
23 Bill Callahan – Apocalypse
22 Beirut – The Rip Tide
21 The War On Drugs – Slave Ambient
20 My Morning Jacket – Circuital
19 James Blake – James Blake
18 Thurston Moore – Demolished Thoughts
17 Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat – Everything’s Getting Older
16 Bon Iver – Bon Iver, Bon Iver
15 Paul Simon – So Beautiful Or So What
14 King Creosote & Jon Hopkins – Diamond Mine
13 Cat’s Eyes – Cat’s Eyes
12 Kurt Vile – Smoke Rings For My Halo
11 Laura Marling – A Creature I Don’t Know
10 Wild Beasts – Smother
09 Tom Waits – Bad As Me
08 Anna Calvi – Anna Calvi
07 Josh T Pearson – Last Of The Country Gentlemen
06 White Denim – D
05 Kate Bush – 50 Words For Snow
04 Jonathan Wilson – Gentle Spirit
03 Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues
02 The Horrors – Skying
01 PJ Harvey – Let England Shake

Jonathan Wilson - 2012 Tour Dates
18 Jan - Philadelphia PA @ World Cafe Live
19 Jan - New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge
20 Jan - New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge
21 Jan - NYC @ The Rock Shop
04 Feb - LILLE, L'Aeronef
05 Feb - ANTWERP, Trix
08 Feb - NIJMEGEN, Doornroosje
08 Feb - ROTTERDAM, Rotown
09 Feb - AMSTERDAM, Melkweg
10 Feb - STRASBOURG, Laiterie
12 Feb - PARIS, Divan Du Monde

More From Brooklyn Vegan