Jesse Winchester – Gentleman Of Leisure
The legendary singer-songwriter is back with a new set of tunes, one that balances melancholy soul-searching with a country-tinged funk (in the 1970s/Little Feat/Elvin Bishop/The Band/Sly & The Family Stone sense). Winchester's subdued, rather purr-like voice is a nice contrast to the soulful, gospel-inspired backing vocals, the sharp, Memphis-style guitar licks, and a loping southern groove. He turns his attention to a fine-dancing woman ("Sweet Little Shoe"), a club where he loves to unwind and dance ("Club Manhattan"), temptation and the most human of human foibles ("Evil Angel") and the fragility of emotions ("No Pride At All"). Fans of Lyle Lovett and Mary Chapin Carpenter are urged to check this Winchester fellow out (since he was doing his thing when Lovett and Carpenter were still in grade school).
1. Club Manhattan - 3:44 2. Sweet Little Shoe - 4:22 3. That's What Makes You Strong - 3:10 4. No Pride At All - 4:29 5. Gentleman Of Leisure - 3:52 6. Wander My Way Home - 2:53 7. Evil Angel - 3:53 8. Just Cause I'm In Love With You - 3:59 9. Just Like New - 3:40 10. You Tickle Me - 3:35 11. Freewheeler - 3:50 12. Sweet Loving Daddy - 3:11 13. I Wave Bye Bye - 3:33 14. Wander My Way Home (Reprise) - 1:28
Jesse Winchester (vocals, guitar, keyboards) , Jerry Douglas (vocals, lap steel & Weissenborn guitars, dobro) , Vince Gill / The Fairfield Four / John Cowan / Jonell Mosser (vocals) , Bryan Sutton (acoustic guitar) , Steve Cropper / Mike Henderson (electric guitar) , Pat Bergeson (harmonica) , Byron House (bass) , John Gardner (drums)
1. AllMusic - Michael B. Smith
From the opening vocals of the almost rockabilly "Club Manhattan," the undeniably excellent songwriting of Jesse Winchester makes its way back into our collective psyche. Backed by an unparalleled group of musicians, and with guest appearances from such musical dignitaries as the Fairfield Four, Jerry Douglas, Steve "The Colonel" Cropper, and Vince Gill, Winchester has assembled a highly enjoyable album, filled with the same magic his past releases all possessed. The kind of musical and lyrical genius that has caused dozens of artists to record his music gets into some funky blues territory with "Sweet Little Shoe," and downright beautiful with "That's What Makes You Strong," featuring the lap steel guitar work of Jerry Douglas, who also acts as producer for the album. The title track is a rocking blues number with some out-in-front drums from John Gardner and more of Jerry Douglas' excellent lap steel. "Wander My Way Back Home," a gospel tune, backed by the fabulous Fairfield Four, is one of the album's best tracks, and is reprised at the very end of the record. "Just Because I'm in Love With You" brings some Roy Orbison feeling, with flawless harmonies from country superstar Vince Gill. "Sweet Loving Daddy" features some fine dobro picking from Douglas, but the absolute finest track on the album has to be the final cut, "I Wave Bye Bye." Gentleman of Leisure is an album 11 years on coming, and it was well worth the wait.
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