August 16, 2010

Brian Wilson's good vibrations

Pop god Brian Wilson has always had an affinity for the stylings of George Gershwin. On a new album, Wilson gives the legend his due.

By Bob Keyes
Staff Writer

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Michael Fisher/Staff Artist

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“Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin” was mastered by Bob Ludwig of Gateway Mastering in Portland.


DISNEY MUSIC GROUP will release “Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin” on Tuesday. Bull Moose stores in Maine will offer it beginning at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday.

At age 68, Wilson remains an icon of popular music. In the last few years, he has emerged from a decades-long period of isolation and modest creative accomplishment. He's not only written and recorded new music, but also overcome a widely documented fear of performing to mount tours that have received critical praise.

Gershwin was only 39 when he died, but in a short life and career, he managed to write popular melodies that were known around the world. He composed for Broadway, for Tin Pan Alley and for orchestras.

Like Gershwin, Wilson showed remarkable musical prowess at a very young age. He had vision and confidence in his convictions, and was singularly responsible for an entire segment of pop music that emanated from California beginning in the early 1960s.

He began dropping out of public view when he was in his 20s, first because of a bout with anxiety that caused him to stop touring with the Beach Boys, and later because of a deep psychosis that left him socially isolated.

Although he is active again musically in a public way, Wilson remains somewhat of a recluse.

Even Ludwig, whose role on the final outcome of "Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin" is profound, never spoke with Wilson directly about this project. Most of his interaction was with chief mixer Al Schmitt.

"Nobody gets to speak with Brian," Ludwig said.

That may be true, but with this record, Wilson is making himself heard loud and clear.

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or at:


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