Larry Jon Wilson returns after a mere 29-year absence
Just got word from an unlikely source — renowned indie label Drag City — that they’re issuing a new album from Larry Jon Wilson, who made a modest name for himself in the 1970s on Monument Records and was featured in the opening scene of the now-legendary documentary film Heartworn Highways. I happened to catch Wilson about a decade ago at a little gathering across the street from the late great FloraBama lounge in Perdido Key, Florida; as it happens, this album was apparently recorded in Perdido Key. Release date is June 23.
No idea what to expect with this one, but the short set I saw back in ’99 left me thinking this was someone I hoped to have the chance to hear more from someday. Kudos to the folks at Drag City for apparently concurring.
Here’s the official press-release briefing:
In the 1970s, Larry Jon Wilson released four acclaimed albums and garnered a reputation as one of the best new “outlaw country” songwriters around alongside such hallowed names as Mickey Newbury, Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark. Starting his career late (learning guitar in 1970, at the age of 30) and leaving it early (ten years later), he walked way from the business, but not the music. Signed to Monument Records by Fred Foster on the strength of a letter and a demo cassette, his legacy has been the four albums of deep country soul released between 1975 and 1979 – but none of them came as close to the bone as this new, appropriately self-titled album.
Larry Jon Wilson has been quietly playing shows on and off in the southern states over the last two decades – but it wasn’t until some new friends twisted his arm with recording gear in tow on the 15th floor of a Perdido Key condominium that a new album became a reality. This album stands apart from his 70s recordings. On Larry Jon Wilson, he stands mostly alone, with songs of his friends and his own, occasionally accompanied by a single violin.
With the release of Larry Jon Wilson, the world is privy to the Larry Jon Wilson sound, clear and worn, deep and resonant.