Anson Wright | Only Love Review
by Jeff Becker
Guitarist Anson Wright has spent his life in pursuit of knowledge, a graduate of Princeton, it was during his post-graduate studies at Columbia the spark to pursue his highest creativity was forged. His ever-growing discography, Only Love, State of Grace, and Ukiah’s Lullaby is proof of his thoughtful and poignant compositions. Wright is also a published novelist, penning three books.
The National Endowment for the Arts provided the funding for his second book, Openings. Wright’s first full-length poetry book, Sandstone Monastery, was released in 2004. While Poems from Sandstone Monastery were set to music by guitarist John Stowell in the 2008 spoken-word CD, The Sky At Our Feet. To say that Wright is prolific would undoubtedly be an understatement.
Only Love is garnished with tasty contributors, Jasnam Daya Singh (known to many as Weber Iago) on piano, Brian Casey holds down the bass, and Todd Scott Bishop adds rhythmic creativity on drums.
The album traverses several textual esthetics, “Rahway Blues,” a romping tune written by Wright that accesses the slow burn of his guitar with thoughtful harmonic complexities that add to the tastiness of the bluesy penchant. While “Solstice,” offers an absorbing listen. Filled with delicacy, a sense of passion and wonderment, it’s easy to feel instantly transported.
“Warrior One,” is a darker tone that finds Wright elongating his notes for added accentuation and conveyance. Casey takes a uniquely inspired solo while Singh glides with ease atop the melody with cascading lines and solid harmonic choices. The title track finds itself at the end of the program, and it is a strong closer. Wright is in top form on this tune. Bishop also shines on this cut. He propels the song with Wright while Singh punctuates, and Casey interacts with an interactive driving spirit that drives the solos and communication between the players.
Each player adds character to each composition with a penchant for group interaction. Compelled by their counterpart to press forward with potency. Only Love is a superior listen with enough variance in writing to establish a compelling listen throughout.