I put the LP of Frogtown on and had just turned around when it hit me. Anthony Wilson was singing! A hugely talented guitar player of more than a little renown, Wilson has built a thriving solo career that currently stands at ten fine-sounding solo records. He’s also an in-demand sideman, having played on a number of records by the likes of Paul McCartney, Willie Nelson, Mose Allison, and Leon Russell, to name just a few. Lately, much of his time has been taken up by being a member of Diana Krall’s touring band. Perhaps best of all, he’s the son of far-ahead-of-his time arranger and big band leader, the late Gerald Wilson.
Through my flabbergastedness, I managed to make him laugh later on the telephone by commending his bravery for singing on record for the first time! And by the way, doing it very well indeed! He also wrote all six songs that he sings on, as well as the album’s seven instrumentals. One of the vocal tunes, “She Won’t Look Back,” has the sound and attitude of a single that could garner airplay and perhaps, drive the popularity of Frogtown. But why start singing now?
“I sang in bands when I was in high school and in college. And I did a lot of singing and I really loved it. Then at a certain point I just started playing instrumental music. I moved to New York and all I did was instrumental music and it wasn’t even a choice. I just did it and eventually I realized I had left something behind that I wanted to get back to. I wanted to open my mouth and sing and it took a long time to get to the point where I was like, `Okay, I’m gonna try this.’ Writing songs with words kind of developed on a parallel track to it.”
“It’s another way of telling stories with music and I don’t want to be without it. I don’t want to be confined only to certain toolbox not having actually decided to use only that toolbox.”
Stream Frogtown below.