13 May 2022 (released)
25 April 2022
Listening to Emma Wilson takes me back to a time before auto-tune and before digital manipulation of music. Before music was written by computer and to a time when a great song, sung by a vocalist who actually felt the emotions in the song, could stir emotions in the listener. And she manages to make it sound as up to date as tomorrow – some class act.
Emma Wilson wrote – either with Mark Neary or on her own – every track on this album, and every one sounds instantly classic, instantly recognizable but also completely new.
She has a voice that really is perfect for soul or jazz and she has a range that is really remarkable whether she is singing in a high pop register or a sultry and sassy, dark and smoky tone.
She also has a band around her with the chops to put over the songs perfectly. Mark Neary (bass) is fresh from playing with Noel Gallagher, drummer Mat Hector was most recently working with Iggy Pop, guitar player Adam Chetwood has been seen playing with Mark Ronson and Imelda May and Alessandro Brunetta plays harp on one track.
Musically, this takes me right back to the soul wars where Motown and Stax were throwing down on the opposite sides of the USA and the music straddles both forms in an ultimate soul style.
Listening to the album I found my favourites changing almost every time but a few numbers really do hit the spot – ‘Rack Em Up’ is a superb bit of funk with a hard edge and a fine guitar solo, ‘Little Love Bite’ seduces you with a soft soul feel and the rocky Blues of ‘Not Paying’ featuring Alessandro Brunetta and a stunning vocal from Ms Wilson. The album title track ‘Wish Her Well’ really had shivers going up and down my back – a swampy, Bayou feel, really dark and vicious emotions, great thumping monotone drum and sinuous guitar lines.
A top bit of modern soul, very grown-up and miles ahead of so much of the current ‘R&B’ crop.