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Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Pocketmags Digital Magazines


Jonathan Wilson is a modern day psychedelic polymath. From producing the hottest alternative artists on the planet and performing alongside prog icons to releasing some of the headiest pop music you’ll hear today, it seems that there’s nothing the laidback Laurel Canyon resident can’t turn his hand to. As he releases his superlative third album, Rare Birds, Teri Saccone picks the brains of one of the most interesting characters in modern guitar music…
Photography ELEANOR JANE

Jonathan Wilson is that rarest of creatures: a creative purist. A guitarist, producer and songwriter of enviable talent, Wilson’s music may be steeped in the dreamlike sounds that filtered out of Laurel Canyon in its early-1970s heyday but his recent work owes as much to Trevor Horn and has the widescreen ambition of Kate Bush or Peter Gabriel.

Don’t let his relaxed demeanour and intoxicating music lull you into a sense that he’s not making the most of every spare minute – Wilson just might be the modern heir to James Brown’s famous title of ‘the hardest working man in showbusiness’. From the impressive surroundings of his Fivestar Studios in Echo Park, he’s sat in the producer’s chair for artists as varied as Father John Misty, Conor Oberst, Roy Harper and Glen Campbell. He’s also in demand as a musician, having performed and collaborated with the likes of Erykah Badu, Wilco, Jackson Browne, Graham Nash and many more.

It’s a stacked slate that goes someway to explaining why his new album, Rare Birds is his first since 2013’s Fanfare, but that’s not even the full story. For the last few years, Wilson has been the lead guitarist and musical director (although he deflects the latter with typical humility) in the band of Pink Floyd legend, Roger Waters. It’s a gig that’s taken him around the world, and also seen him contribute to Waters’ critically lauded 2017 album, Is This The Life You Really Want?. But throughout all his other endeavours, the threads of Rare Birds have been percolating and developing, finally coming together in an album that’s already a surefire entry in many 2018 Best Of lists. Expansive and arrestingly ambitious, it clocks in at a sprawling 80 minutes, but there’s artistic progression, too.

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About Guitar Magazine

The June 2018 issue of The Guitar Magazine is on sale now! Inside we celebrate 135 years of Gretsch, check out a pair of the company’s sparkling new Anniversary models and trace the history of some of the most famous and affordable guitars ever to deliver ‘That Great Gretsch Tone’. We also find out how Jonathan Wilson became a go-to guitarist and producer for artists as diverse as Roger Waters and Father John Misty and get a close look at his killer live rig. Elsewhere, we get to grips with a breathtaking original Olympic White 1963 Stratocaster, rundown the world’s most popular fuzz pedals in our buyer’s guide and review a host of new gear from the likes of Universal Audio, Maybach, Eastman, Fender, Rift Amps, Way Huge and more. In this jam-packed special edition of the mag we also go behind the scenes with Crimson Guitars, interview the legendary Bill Wyman about the home-made bass that powered early Rolling Stones hits, give a mystery vintage Fender amp a makeover, go into the studio with up-and-coming UK roots duo Ida Mae, salute the genius of former Gibson president Ted McCarty… and give you the chance to win a road-ready Fender Hot Rod Deluxe IV combo worth £849. Phew! Get your copy of the June 2018 issue of The Guitar Magazine now.