Album Review

David Wilcox - Blaze

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BLAZE, solo album # 18, David Patrick Wilcox traverses a broad thematic gamut, his words at times thoughtful, occasionally provoking it’s simply another classic song collection.

BLAZE was recorded and mixed at former Over The Rhine guitarist Ric Hordinski’s Monastery Recording Studio – a deconsecrated church - in the Walnut Hills suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio. In the album press release Wilcox sums up collaborating with Hordinski as “like hiking a new trail and seeing a vista for the first time… that surprise as the song changes in the middle of the take and suddenly I understand what the song means and I just go with it.” On this eleven song collection Wilcox (lead vocals, acoustic/electric guitar) is, in the main, supported by Hordinski (acoustic/electric guitar, bass), Byron House (bass) and Joshua Seurkamp (drums), with lesser input from David Torn (electric guitar), Daniel Joseph Dorff (drums, piano), Jars of Clay’s Charlie Lowell (piano), plus Carol Sharar (violin), John Zappa (trumpet) and Marc Raia (guitar).

David co-wrote a handful of the songs with Ric, one with hit songwriter Randy Sharp and penned the remainder on his own. Hordinski co-write Oil Talking To Ya launches this set and imagines a time when planet Earth’s fossil fuels reserves will be exhausted. While many predict planetary cataclysm, Wilcox suggests that mankind’s differences will be sidelined as we unite in a search for an alternative and sustainable source of energy. A love song Ocean Soul follows, c/w Hordinski and Sara Mac backing vocal, wherein the narrator offers sage advice regarding perceived beauty. A songwriter’s loss of the first draft of a song – “the writing was a revelation” - and what unfolded during the following days, is recalled in David’s Tip Of My Tongue.

The consecutive trio We Came To Ride The Road, Guilty By Degree and Bail My Boat were penned by the songwriter/producer team. Subtle sophisticated lyrics grace the first, a paean to two-wheeled pedal-power it celebrates the transcendental state of mind Wilcox consistently enjoys on the road. Nineteenth century Scottish/American naturalist John Muir is name checked in Guilty By Degree - a futuristic portrait of Earth’s fragile ecology, while the third title advocates we take a proactive approach to life. Nance Pettit, David’s wife, supplies a support vocal to the almost acoustic, dreamy night-time tale Drift.

Although there’s mention of successfully refurbishing a 1962 Austin-Healey Sprite in the opening verse to It’ll Work On You it’s simply an intentional poetic device, Wilcox’s true intention being the celebration of personal achievement. There’s vocal support from Audrey Cecil and Amanda Lucas, aka Louisville, Kentucky duo Bridge 19, on the Sharp co-write, Don’t Look Back – where peace of mind, according to the narrator, can be found in being comfortable with one’s back pages. The penultimate selection, The Sacrifice, one of seven songs on which Andrea Summer supplies a backing vocal, finds a world-weary police officer express frustration regarding another child murder. Our individual responsibility to preserve ‘the light’ that the late Martin Luther King brought into this world is embraced in the closing selection Single Candle.

Supported mainly, on this occasion, by electric guitar, with only occasional use of acoustic guitar, Wilcox’s BLAZE is an addictive and cohesive marriage of word and melody.

Photo Credits:

David Wilcox (Michael Wilson).

David Wilcox - Sitting & Smiling.

From the desk of the Folk Villager

                        Here's a link to David's "Ocean Soul" video.