Caught by the River

Country Got Soul

11th July 2008

Listen to Larry Jon Wilson, “Shoulders”, here

Our good friends at the record label 1965 (a fine vintage) continue doing what it is they do best – releasing cool records, flicking the finger, smiling for God’s sake – by releasing a new record by Larry John Wilson. His first in many years. It’s great too. Really good. Larry has been lighting up London town over the last few days with a series of gigs that have reduced grown men, men who thought they’d seen it all, to tears. He’s playing the 12 Bar on Denmark Street on Tuesday – you know what to do.

Anyways, here are the liner notes and below that there’s a link to a website that’s showing a film relating to the making of the record. See you down the front…

In June of 2007, Jeb Loy Nichols, Jake Housh, and I met up with Larry Jon Wilson in Perdido Key, Florida to do some recording. Larry Jon knew the area well and when he spoke of it in the months prior to the session, it sounded fantastic and lush. The Spanish named the land, meaning “lost key”, when it was founded in the late 1600s. I’m not sure when Larry Jon found himself there for the first time, but he knows the area like a native. And though the days I spent there may not be lost;, they’re certainly fuzzy.

Throughout the next seven days, Larry Jon recorded about twenty songs. A man-out-of-time, he told stories about hitch-hiking, hustling pool, being a father, gambling, drinking, women, and friendships, focusing mostly on those he shared with Townes Van Zandt and Mickey Newbury. As Jeb and I poked Larry Jon for stories, Jake was quick enough to roll tape when the narratives turned to songs. Larry Jon never gave us any indication when things were about to begin. He would pick up his guitar, crack open a corner of memory, and play without concern that it was being captured. Often times, at the song’s end, he seemed surprised by himself, like he was channeling some feral piece of his past. Many of these songs he wrote, and the ones he didn’t have now been officially “Wilson-ized”. Only the song “Shoulders” was performed twice; the rest of the album is all first and only takes.

This may not be the best way to make records. There was no order, no schedule, no plan. But we pushed a microphone in front of a man with a guitar and now we have a record. Nobody told Larry Jon what songs to sing (not that it would have mattered if we did). Nothing here is showbiz; there’s no production no glitter. And so, these songs sound like music, like Life with a big ‘L’, like Larry Jon Wilson and no one else.

Jerry DeCicca
Picture by Neil Thomson

go watch the film