Editors' pick

David Wilcox


Editorial Review

Album review: "Reverie"

If veteran singer-songwriter David Wilcox wasn't quite sure how the audience was reacting to a batch of new tunes when he recorded "Reverie" in concert, he had only himself to blame. That's what he gets for insisting that everyone remain silent "until the last guitar note had faded out."

Chances are fair to certain, however, that most fans were delighted, if not completely satisfied. The prolific tunesmith unveiled several songs that are likely to become part of his tour repertoire for years to come. Topping the list is "Ireland," in which Wilcox quietly celebrates the ancient Celtic wellspring that inspires his music, "the motherland of balladeers and the home to orphan songs." Right up there, too, are the poignant (and complicated) love song "Angeline" and the pointed (and topical) "Little Fish." When the mood is more politically charged, Wilcox breaks the silence between tunes long enough to credit Bruce Springsteen for reminding him that people sometimes seem bent on destroying the very thing they wish to preserve. Lest anyone miss the point, "We Call It Freedom" underscores it time and again.

The album's tone, however, is mostly reflective, wry and observant, rather than admonishing, and though some of the lyrics amount to little more than musings, the performances consistently benefit from Wilcox's distinctive acoustic guitar work.

- Mike Joyce, Feb. 2011