Ray Wilson -- Troubadour

Ray Wilson is an old soul. That is apparent from the first note on Troubador. The album builds momentum taking the listener on a pleasurable time-warp of delicious funk and soul.
The opening track, “Rebel In Faded Old Jeans,” is smooth and smoky and perfectly sets the tone for the album. A hard guitar lick underscores the passion of the unnamed rebellious troubadour, but somehow it is understood this track is Wilson’s pledge to give his all to both the album and his audience.
“Racin’ Jake”  is a haunting coming of age tale about the challenges that make us who we are. Musically, it is perhaps my least favorite, but the tune is one everyone can relate to on some level. The third track “Misty Waters” showcases Wilson’s vocal smoothness, but is otherwise only a prelude of the album’s real emotion and power which shines through on the back half.
The folksy emotion of Wilson and the range of his voice materializes with “Sit Beneath The Tree” and carries right into the fifth track“Soul” which is lyrically my favorite selection from Troubadour. “Outside on Sunday,”  is a delicately balanced tune that you can’t help but sing along with upon a second, third, fourth, and beyond listening, and within the boundaries of the album feels like a perfect place for our troubadour to land after a hard Saturday night.
Sounding a bit like a third Everly Brother, Wilson resurrects the crooning ballad with “Silver Threads,” and again reinforces the overall story feel of the album. Wilson has given us a life story whether it is meant to be a metaphor of his own musical journey, or more likely that of the collective inspirations behind his sound. I get the sense that Wilson is reflecting upon the way things used to be, both in regards to music and life while reminding us life can slip through our grasp if we don’t grab hold when we can. “Underdog” punctuates this point with its message that our strength must be internal if we are truly going to persevere, because without faith and self-belief, today’s underdog is simply tomorrow’s has-been.
Wrapping Troubadour with a reprise of “Rebel In Faded Old Jeans” Wilson brings it back around to triumphantly declare, he is here to stay and that his old soul is one that cannot be denied.  The nuances of the album come alive on second, third and fourth listening, but the smooth buttery vocals and folk brand of blues make Troubadour an entertaining listen the first time through. 


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