Wesley Gonzales - Excellent Musician

by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:8 Release Date:2017-06-30

When you name your album Excellent Musician and it is your debut solo one at that, like Wesley Gonzales has, you are really daring your fate. You simply have to put up or shut up, no ifs or buts about that one. So to start off, we can give Wesley high marks for bravery, but what does he come up with, after all?

To answer that question, we do have to go back in time a bit. The youngish guy in a Sixties standard tourist jacket on the cover, being Wesley, started out even younger some 10 years or so as the leader of the punkish, angry band Let’s Wrestle. It seems in the meantime he got acquainted with such artists as the Beatles, Emitt Rhodes (essentially, The Beatles) Sly Stone, Al Green… But judging by this album, one name certainly stands out. It seems Wesley got quite informed about the life and work of certain Mr Andy Partridge of XTC. Or to be more precise, again, all the names mentioned previously, and quite a few more.

So how does Wesley Gonzales fare in all this, and what about the claims of being an excellent musician? Still not sure, but he certainly is getting there. If you take a closer listen to tracks like Still Working On It and Just A Piece of Mind you can hear that Wesley has really absorbed all his influences, whether it is the melodic pop side (the former track) or the true soul licks (the latter one). The additional crew, like Bobby Voltaire from Proper Ornaments also seems to be well chosen and helped shape these songs into something more than just a musical pastiche.

Oh, it seems Wesley did not completely abandon his punkish roots - the music also has the necessary energy to drive it along and his lyrics can still sound a bit angry at times, but have a refreshing effect when combined with the pop soulfulness of the music. Ok, so Wesley Gonzales might still not be proclaimed an excellent musician, but he is making a valiant effort and has the promise to be there, and soon at that.

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