Danny Lynn Wilson gives Peace Of Mind

For a musician that will be new to many, the press release and even his own website, do not reveal much about Danny Lynn Wilson. Suffice it to say that he has certainly travelled around the States and seen and felt the world in all of its good and bad glory. His recording history started in 1992 with a traditional Chicago blues release called Lovers and Fools. He’s also put out another three CDs over the intervening years and they covered big band swing, blues and bluegrass. He has a new album available now called Peace of Mind that moves into the all-encompassing ‘Roots’ category…to me, that means a blend of predominately blues, folk and country with nuances from a multitude of other genres. And that is what we get across the album’s thirteen tracks: a clever and calculated blend all wrapped up by the high-quality production and the excellent musicians he has recruited to realise the vision of sharing his ‘peace of mind’.

The album opens with When Will The Loving Start, where we get the first taste of DLW’s world weary, but well-informed vocals…think along the lines of Leon Redbone but on a bad day! The crystal clear guitars on the opening mean you are already going to like it. Yes, it is a slow paced not very blue blues, but the timbre in his voice and then Clare Moses adds some lovely vocal depth…effortlessly. Sympathy For Your Man is next and has a haunted country blues sound with beautiful picked guitar and a lap steel bringing extra colour. The guitar interlude has a Morricone feel and it is delightful in its simplicity. The title track, Peace of Mind, keeps the country tinges as a banjo and violin are used to great effect in a song that promises the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t an oncoming train. Long Way Home continues with the banjo in a more frisky mood…the complex percussion, rather than drums, actually adds to the infectious nature of this great little song. Love Only You finds DLW saying what many a man or woman has felt…“Forgive me for these things that I do, ’Cause I love only you.” Backed by a stunning tone from the acoustic and illuminated by slide guitar and more clever percussion ramps the atmosphere to make it even more real. Middle Class Blues has a jaunty feel to it despite its grey lyrics. The violin contributes to the lilt with its backing and sol, while the guitar ‘solo’ is discordant brilliance. Shine Is Off is another cheery sounding song and has a bit south seas about its country blues structure. Once again the band seem to fit the right sounds in the right places…take the brushed snare on this one and the lap steel; the fit is perfection. Arkansas Trotter gets bluesier with electric guitar, sax and keys joining together to provide a rock-jazz number that, unsurprisingly, is my favourite. High Water is country blues with lovely backing vocals and a sweet sounding resonator too. The slide work is first class and, as always on a metal-bodied acoustic, when played well it just sounds stunning. No Walls is next and with lines like “I’ve got no walls to hold your picture, I got no walls, but that’s okay, Stars in the sky will be my ceiling, And I’ll hold your picture every day”, you can’t help being drawn into the feel of the song. More spacious picked electric guitar makes it worth listening carefully throughout. Fuss ‘N’ Fight was nearly my favourite with its ‘let’s have a drink and a jam on the porch’ emotive sounds…instead it’s just a lot of fun with each instrument crystal clear in the production and the washboard is always welcome. Too Many Hounds moves into a more soulful mood with sax to the fore in a soul, folk blend that actually works quite well. The fuzzed guitar is genius both in the backing and the solo. Final track, Galway Bay, is mellow and multi-layered in instrumentation but, to my ears, is pleasant but not a repeater.

This is far from my normal choice of genre(s) but after a few listens I found myself enjoying it all…the compositional skills are evident but for me, the fun is concentrating on a different instrument each time. Doing so reveals such complexity and beauty that could so easily have been missed. While I may not seek it out on a daily basis, there are times when this is the perfect accompaniment to life, the universe and everything…

EIGHTpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …

Tracklisting:

  1. When Will The Loving Start
  2. Sympathy For Your Man
  3. Peace Of Mind
  4. Long Way Home
  5. Love Only You
  6. Middle Class Blues
  7. Shine Is Off
  8. Arkansas Trotter
  9. High Water
  10. No Walls
  11. Fuss ‘N Fight
  12. Too Many Hounds
  13. Galway Bay
All songs written by Danny Lynn Wilson

Musicians:

Danny Lynn Wilson: vocals, acoustic guitar

Dave Gross: electric guitar, baritone guitar, banjo, mandolin, piano, Hammond organ, wurlitzer, harmonium, percussion, vocals (9)

Matt Raymond: upright & electric bass

Ray Hangen: drums

Greg Gumpel: resonator guitar (9, 11), vocals (9)

Sean Daly: lapsteel (2, 7, 13)

Danielle Gross: vocals (1, 4, 9)

Clare Moses: vocals (1, 13), cello (5)

Doug James: tenor sax (8), baritone sax (12)

Charles Burnham: violin (3, 6)

April Mae: washboard (10)

Produced, recorded & mixed by

Dave Gross at Fat Rabbit Studios
Danny Lynn Wilson gives Peace Of Mind
One Sheet

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