Anthony Wilson, best known as a jazz guitarist, has released an organic, occasionally 'noir-ish'-sounding album on which he sets up and sings within cinematic musical landscapes, proving himself to be an equally compelling story teller. Frogtown is an area of Los Angeles, whose official name is Elysian Valley. People live there but other than a lush stretch of the L.A. riverbed, there's not much there, which is how the people like it. The same can't be said of this record, which will have you wondering from where came this Anthony Wilson? ... the album's sound and the deftly drawn arrangements (for some reason uncredited) perfectly compliment Wilson's dreamy, rural intentions (producer Joe Harley gets a 'audio consultation' credit). The sound achieves a rare level of transparency, delicacy and three-dimensionality in today's hard-edged audio world. Bernie Grundman cut lacquers from what I assume were high resolution files. I doubt you'll ask yourself 'why buy the vinyl?' after your first listen. - Music = 10/11; Sound = 10/11 - Michael Fremer, AnalogPlanet.com.
Frogtown, a new album of original instrumental and vocal songs, is guitarist Anthony Wilson's widest-ranging work to date, and his debut as a vocalist. Wilson enlisted Grammy-winning producer/bassist Mike Elizondo (Gary Clark Jr., Kimbra, Ry Cooder), a longtime friend and musical colleague, to help him realize this collection of layered and personal sonic stories.
Featuring a cast of renowned musicians - drummers Jim Keltner and Matt Chamberlain, violinist Petra Haden, and keyboardists Patrick Warren and Josh Nelson - each song on Frogtown evokes a distinct feeling and landscape, and takes the listener someplace new. Virtuosic guitar and ensemble work, well-made songs and detailed arrangements, and intimate vocals are the driving forces of the album.
An album highlight is the song Your Footprints - written by Wilson with songwriter Dan Wilson (Adele, Taylor Swift, Semisonic) - featuring a special guest appearance from iconic jazz saxophonist Charles Lloyd. The collaboration with Lloyd alludes to Wilson's deep jazz roots, and evokes memories of his father, the late, great composer/bandleader Gerald Wilson. Other songs summon varied musical influences - FM radio of the 1970's, Ry Cooder's diverse body of work, children's rhymes, guitar styles from the 1920's to the present day.
Frogtown travels into, through, and beyond genres; the album's melodies and lyrics guide the listener through tender and complex emotional landscapes. Anthony Wilson steps confidently into the center of the frame for this musical and personal portrait.
1. She Won't Look Back
3. Your Footprints
4. Occhi di Bambola
5. Silver and Flint
6. Our Affair
7. The Cares of a Family Man
10. The Geranium
11. Shabby Bird
12. I Saw It Through The Skylight
13. Downtown Abbey