Will Stratton - Rosewood Almanac

by Jeff Penczak Rating:9 Release Date:2017-05-12

Will Stratton has an eclectic background (he studied philosophy and music composition in college) that finds its way into his intricate compositions, which have ranged from piano preludes to exquisite folk tunes influenced by such varied masters as Nick Drake, John Fahey, and Leo Kottke. His sixth album (the title is a reference to his guitar) sees him joining the estimable Bella Union stable, which will hopefully bring his music to a much-deserved wider audience. His soft, relaxed voice is accompanied by fluttering bird voices on opener ‘Light Blue’, a lazily spun tale with an elaborate arrangement of glistening keyboards and guitars, all beaming out behind an illegal smile. There’s a ’70’s West Coast singer/songwriter vibe that borrows equally from Jackson Brown, Dan Fogelberg, and Jonathan Wilson.

Strings embellish the hazy, dreamy ‘Thick Skin’, ‘Manzanita’ adds Gabriel Birnbaum’s glorious sax solo and Maia Friedman’s soaring backing vocals to the party atmosphere, and ‘Vanishing Class’ touchstones the nostalgic thousand yard stare of Pat Orchard and Neil Halstead. I can even hear some of David Crosby’s hallucinogenic meanderings floating through ‘I See You’ (perhaps, not coincidentally, an old Cros gem from Fifth Dimension).

All told, it’s a lovely, laidback half hour of tender ballads, perfectly suited to a gentle swing in a backyard hammock.

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