180g Vinyl Double LP! Pressed at RTI! Mastered by Bernie Grundman at Bernie Grundman Mastering!
Michael Fremer Rated 10/11 Music, 10/11 Sound on analogplanet.com!
"Frogtown," an album of original songs, is guitarist Anthony Wilson's most wide-ranging recorded work to date, and his debut as a singer. Wilson enlisted Grammy-winning producer/bassist Mike Elizondo and a cast of musicians including legendary drummer Jim Keltner, violinist Petra Haden, and iconic saxophonist Charles Lloyd, to help him realize his vision. Virtuosic guitar and ensemble work, well-crafted songs, and intimate vocals drive this album, rooted deeply in jazz while summoning an array of diverse influences. "Frogtown" reaches across genres and evokes complex emotional landscapes. With "Frogtown," Anthony Wilson steps confidently into the center of a vivid musical and personal portrait.
"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?
"Wilson doesn’t ease into this new role—he jumps: opening with “She Won’t Look Back”, which sounds conjured up by Angelo Badalamenti with direction by David Lynch.
"Not every musician can make convincing this kind of epic shift, but Wilson doesn’t force a note or vocal gesture unwinding a story that navigates skillfully from heartbreak to liberation...
"The first of the album’s four sides ends with “Your Footprint”, a dreamy, late afternoon-sounding drift down reverie that Wilson’s vocal nails. First play leaves you wondering where this Anthony Wilson has been hiding all of these years? If the goal was to establish a crossover foothold in Norah Jones’s musical territory, mission accomplished.
"That was my thought before reading in the credits that Jones collaborator Jesse Harris plays harmonica on one tune. Harris’s Wikipedia page says his music has been described as a “blend of folk, rock, jazz and world rhythms” and that pretty much sums up what this record offers. Also onboard here on various tracks: Petra Haden, Patrick Warren, Jim Keltner and on one track Charles Lloyd....
"Produced by Mike Elizondo, who also plays bass and synth bass, and engineered by Adam Hawkins at Can-Am Recorders, 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.
"While those familiar with Wilson’s previous recorded output will be stunned and perhaps left confused after the first play, I think even those with no Wilsonian perspective will be equally moved by the record’s musical and sonic beauty and especially by Wilson’s evocative vocalizing. Who knew?
"From the first note of the first song Frogtown engages and it doesn’t let go of its considerable grip for four sides..." - Michael Fremer, Analogplanet.com, April 12, 2016
Features: • 180g Vinyl • Double LP • Mastered by Bernie Grundman at Bernie Grundman Mastering • Audio consulation by Joe Harley • 12" x 12" insert fold out with lyrics • Pressed at RTI
Musicians: Anthony Wilson, guitars, vocals Petra Haden, violin, bird whistle Mike Elizondo, bass, synth bass Patrick Warren, piano, organ, pump organ, autoharp, keyboards, samples Jim Keltner, drums, percussion Matt Chamberlain, drums, percussion Charles Lloyd, tenor sax on "Your Footprints" Jesse Harris, harmonica on "Arcadia" Josh Nelson, piano on "Silver And Flint" and "The Geranium" Daniel Rosenboom, trumpet Bob Reynolds, tenor sax Adam Schroeder, baritone sax, bass clarinet
Selections: LP 1 Side A: 1. She Won't Look Back 2. Frogtown 3. Your Footprints Side B: 4. Occhi di Bambola 5. Silver and Flint 6. Our Affair
LP 2 Side C: 7. The Cares of A Family Man 8. Mopeds 9. Arcadia Side D: 10. The Geranium 11. Shabby Bird 12. I Saw It Through the Skylight 13. Downtown Abbey