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Jonathan Wilson: Laurel Canyon Personified

June 20, 2013The North Carolina singer-songwriter is devoted to replicating the laid-back West Coast groove of the '70s. Watch him perform a new song, "Love Strong," for KEXP at Seattle's US Social Club.

To look at Jonathan Wilson is to know where he's coming from. There's the long, straight hair tied back; the well-kept but not exactly neat beard; the army-green coat over a well-worn band T-shirt: It all evokes '70s hippie chic, tempered by a contemporary sense of taste.

Wilson's music straddles the same line separating new and old, as heard on his well-reviewed but vastly under-appreciated 2011 debut, Gentle Spirit. Self-produced and recorded entirely on analog in Laurel Canyon, the album was conceived as a double vinyl LP, not as a CD, and exudes warmth that echoes the voices of the canyon and its storied past.

Wilson was a perfect fit for the intimate US Social Club, a private-events studio in Seattle's Fremont neighborhood where you can expect to find many of Seattle's Americana performers. KEXP's video crew recently recorded an exclusive live set, with Wilson and his band playing songs from Gentle Spirit, a pair of covers and a new song that we hope to hear on his second album, due sometime this fall.

Watch Wilson perform "Love Strong" here, and then check out the entire set at KEXP.org.

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