Issue November 1, 2011

Gentle Spirit

Jonathan Wilson
BELLA UNION

A rich folk album recorded to analog tape, Jonathan Wilson’s Gentle Spirit honors the early ’70s vibe in both essence and form. The songs on this album are so bewitching, they seem to mystically linger long after the final track has played. With hushed vocals, weaved guitar motifs and delicate flutes, Wilson provides beautifully layered construction for lyrics that mirror the quiet words of prayers. One petition is found on the title track, echoing out requests into the distance: Gentle spirits find our hearts. Although the entire album possesses a chilled atmosphere, tracks like “Magic Everywhere” and “Rolling Universe” slightly pick up the pace to offer some gradient in the tempo. His only overindulgence seems to be the 10-minute long “Valley of the Silver Moon,” which begins promisingly but doesn’t truly offer enough interesting shifts to warrant the dramatic length. Both mellow and mesmerizing, Gentle Spirit offers a welcome refuge for the listener from the chaotic landscapes of their modern schedules.