Music Review: Leon Russell’s ‘Will o’ the Wisp’

Leon Russell's Will o' the Wisp

With jazz and country meanderings apparently out of his system, Leon Russell has returned to a solid rock footing and made his best album since the three-year-old Carney. Distinguished by some of the singer’s most striking and seemingly most deeply felt compositions, Will o’ the Wisp also profits from superb use of synthesizer, a complementary Russell/Denny Cordell production, Mary McCreary’s multitracked backup vocals, and instrumental assists from Jim Horn, Steve Cropper, J.J. Cale, and others. Particularly on the album’s dream-like romantic excursions (e.g. “Little Hideaway,” “Back to the Island”), Russell solidifies his position as one of rock’s most important and distinctive creators.

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