July is almost over and I've only five records in my "Best Of 2018" folder. Of those five, I'm really only sure of three. So let's just say, I've been waiting all year for "Wilkerson." I have the summer doldrums no more.
"Wilkerson" drops on Friday, but I've been playing this baby non-stop since it arrived. With more than a little help from power pop hero Bleu and Jellyfish alum, Roger Manning Jr., Danny Wilkerson serves one gem after another.
Before I get into this wonderful new release, let me get my power pop PR pet peeve off my chest.
Why does every power pop record released in the last 25 years need to carry the weight of sounding like "Big Star, Queen, Raspberries, The Beatles, Cheap Trick and Marshall Crenshaw?" Is it not possible for an artist to be influenced by these great artists and still sound original? The answer is yes!
Danny Wilkerson shows that it is very possible.
The opening trumpet on the very first song, "Everybody Loves To Love," will bring to mind your favorite Burt Bacharach/Dionne Warwick tune. But once that tune explodes, you will completely forget Bacharach, at least for the next five minutes and you will begin this joyful ride of hooks and harmonies and some of the most heartfelt writing I have heard in ages.
I won't pretend I don't hear a touch of Queen's trademark vocals adding some amazing color to a few tunes, but as a long time fan of Queen, nothing here sounds like anything from any Queen record I love. "Enough For Somebody" is a big blast of 60's AM radio. Think the pop smarts of Abba with balls, but this sounds nothing like anything from any Abba record. "You Still Owe Me A Kiss" has enough hooks to snag a flounder, but does it sound like anyone? Yes, it sounds like a lifetime love of music turned into 3 minutes of pop bliss by Danny Wilkerson. It's Danny Wilkerson.
Each side of the record has a centerpiece. Side One offers "Endless Haze," with nothing but strings behind Wilkerson's voice, as he faces the reality and the down side of the bottle. "When I pour, it rains." This track is simply gorgeous, with more than a touch of heartbreak.
Side Two's killer is "Carry The One, a song Paul McCartney would be proud of, and coming from me, your resident Paul defender, that is a compliment.
Please explore this incredible record. It's special, trust me.
Here's a link to purchase and to check out some clips.
Bravo, Danny Wilkerson.