Anthony Wilson Frogtown on 180g 2LP
Diana Krall Guitarist Anthony Wilson a Double Threat on Frogtown: Mastered by Bernie Grundman and Pressed at RTI, 2LP Set Features Incredible Supporting Cast and Reference Sound
Renowned guitarist Anthony Wilson has a nifty trick up his sleeve on the intimate Frogtown on which the Diana Krall instrumentalist proves he's as compelling in the vocal department as he is with the six-string. A narrative-based album on which Wilson convincingly steps into the role of storyteller, the all-original set features a who's who of musicians – drummers Jim Keltner and Matt Chamberlain, bassist Mike Elizondo, violinist Petra Haden, and keyboardists Patrick Warren and Josh Nelson. Organic, and splashed with atmospheric textures and complex emotions, Frogtown transports the listener to evocative landscapes painted with rich arrangements, taut interplay, and virtuosic playing. The Elizondo-produced work also boasts stunning audiophile sound – particularly on the evocative analog version.
Mastered by Bernie Grundman and pressed at RTI, this 2LP set delights with wide-ranging dynamics, pristine soundstaging cues, and gorgeous detail. The transparency, three-dimensionality, layering, and balance will make it a go-to test disc for anyone interested in giving their system a workout. But beyond the sonics, the music and band interplay impress most.
Take "Your Footprints," written by Wilson with songwriter Dan Wilson (Adele, Taylor Swift, Semisonic), which includes a special guest appearance from iconic jazz saxophonist Charles Lloyd. The collaboration 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 1970s, Ry Cooder's diverse body of work, children's rhymes, guitar styles from the 1920's to the present day. Frogtown manages to be the rare new jazz record that comes ready with reference-quality sound – and a must-hear vinyl pressing.
"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 perfectly [complement] 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."
—Michael Fremer, Analog Planet
Anthony Wilson – all 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 (tracks 1, 2, 5, 9, 10, 12)
Matt Chamberlain – drums & percussion (tracks 3 – 8, 11)
Charles Lloyd – tenor saxophone on "Your Footprints"
Jesse Harris – harmonica (track 9)
Josh Nelson – piano (tracks 5 & 10)
Daniel Rosenboom – trumpet
Bob Reynolds – tenor saxophone
Adam Schroeder – baritone saxophone, bass clarinet