Once in a while there comes along an album that makes you smile for no particular reason other than it is something to savour and you feel blessed to have heard it. Ray Wilson’s second album release inside twelve months, Makes Me Think of Home, is such an album.
With Wilson’s Song for a Friend receiving such positive reviews, it might be seen as something of a risk to release another album so soon. Yet so different to Song for a Friend is Makes Me Think of Home, it is great to see that the former Stiltskin and Genesis front man is so brim full of music – and confidence – that it’s bursting from every pore.
Never Should Have Sent You Roses, a song surrounding the Scottish referendum, may well be strong start but, rest assured, that’s all it is because what follows is nothing short of being sheer musical poetry from first-to-last.
The title track alone – with its invigorating saxophone and understated guitars – cannot fail in getting you grinning from ear-to-ear such is its size. Tennessee Mountain is back-to-basics blues that’ll have you smelling the hillside honeysuckle and Amen to That is a song enriched with humour, pickled in joy, dipped in a little musical nectar and delivered with a bow cast from pure enjoyment.
What’s also notable is the album’s maturity. There’s very little razzmatazz here so what’s left is a work of such refreshing purity it’s as though Wilson is playing his own private gig right there in your room. Calvin & Hobbes underlines this, with its effecting lyrics sure to tick boxes with anyone who delights in solid craftsmanship and a tale filled with friendship and loyalty.
Yet it’s not an album that’s all fun and frolics either. The Next Life explores with touching depth the problem of alcoholism, whereas Anyone Out There – with a beautiful steel guitar underlay – sees Wilson battling evoke demons that can push anyone close to the edge.
Ray Wilson’s sixth solo studio album, Makes Me Think of Home, has very definitely come up with the goods and is one that deserves every bit of praise that is sure to be heaped upon it. That he remains one of Britain’s most underrated singer-song writers is a mystery that few can fathom. Hopefully then, with the two outstanding offerings he’s sent out into the world during 2016, this will change and we’ll get to see him perform more regularly in this country than he has of late.
Now that would be a treat indeed.
- Never Should Have Sent You Roses
- The Next Life
- Tennessee Mountain
- Worship The Sun
- Makes Me Think of Home
- Amen To That
- Anyone Out There
- Don’t Wait For Me
- Calvin & Hobbes
- The Spirit
Makes Me Think of Home
Label: Jaggy D
Total Length: 47:03
Release Date: 7th October, 2016