SHERMAN OAKS Along life’s journey, we may be lucky enough to meet someone who inspires us, has a lasting impact and transforms how we love and live our own life. Pianist Jim Wilson recently said goodbye to his inspirational figure when his aunt passed away at age 97. He wrote “The Girl From Eastland County” for Aunt Billie Jo for his forthcoming tenth album, “Remembrance: A Collection of Cinematic Portraits,” but the presence of the woman who embodied unconditional love is felt throughout the redolent session of poignant piano poetry that drops September 28 from Willow Bay Music. Remembering another dear confidante, Andrew Gold, Wilson offers a sprightly instrumental remake of the late singer-songwriter’s worldwide hit “Thank You For Being A Friend,” which was remixed for radio airplay by the track’s guitarist Chris Standring.
On “Remembrance,” Wilson pours his seemingly endless fount of sweeping melodies and grandiose harmonies to craft vivid sonicscapes rendered with heart and emotion. Inherently expressive and sentimental, his exquisite piano strikes resonant notes that penetrate deep to the core. The color and scope applied to Wilson’s canvases vary, sometimes favoring a full palate of lavish orchestrations such as on opener “Shadow Falls,” the title track, “Under A Highlands Moon” and “Denouement”; other times choosing dreamlike ambient hues (“Tangerine Moon” and “Diogenes Lantern”); or opting to leave his reverential pencil sketches sparsely adorned (“In The Stillness” and “Home is Where the Heart Is”). Whether the accompaniment be minimal and atmospheric or illumined by noteworthy musicians including keyboardist Brad Cole (Phil Collins), drummer Charlie Morgan (Elton John), Irish flutist Eric Rigler (“Titanic” soundtrack) and noted session players Troy Dexter (guitar) and Neil Stubenhaus (bass), Wilson’s aim is to connect and lead his listeners on an affecting path of discovery.
“I’ve always been told that my music has a visual quality to it, but I wanted to take it to a new level with this record, creating a collection of ‘cinematic portraits’ that take the listener on an emotional journey. ‘Remembrance’ has a reverent, contemplative feel that serves as centerpiece for the rest of the album. What matters most is that this music enriches the lives of those who hear it,” said Wilson, who concluded by addressing the role his aunt still plays in his life. “I strive to be more like her in every aspect of my life.”
Wilson grew up in Amarillo, Texas, but he has long been based in the Los Angeles area. Three of his albums have hit the Billboard Top 20 – “Northern Seascape,” “Cape of Good Hope” and “A Place In My Heart” – and two of his concerts have been made into PBS specials, including “A Place In My Heart.” His work as an innovator pioneered and revolutionized MIDI adaptors for piano by allowing it to interact with computers and synthesizers. He taught Paul McCartney, Elton John, Jackson Browne, Burt Bacharach, Carole King and many others how to use the MIDI-piano. As a composer for work of visual mediums, Wilson wrote music for the CBS television series “Frank’s Place.” In addition to solo performances, he has long served as keyboardist and music director for singer-songwriter Stephen Bishop, with whom he is presently touring and opening for.
Wilson’s “Remembrance” contains the following songs:
“The Girl From Eastland County”
“In the Stillness”
“Home is Where the Heart Is”
“Under a Highlands Moon”
“Thank You For Being A Friend”