Our old friend, Abraham Wilson, has created new music - primarily gentle and tender, but also energetic and stimulating from time to time. Titled Music Is the Key (New Rising Sun Music), all thirteen songs were composed, produced and arranged by Abraham. I first introduced Abraham in 2009, when he was in the process of recording his debut CD called Smooth together with Ralph and Russ Terrana. You can read about the record and Abraham’s career up to that point at Deep Online July 2009 (soulexpress.net). Smooth was eventually expanded into a double-CD and released in early 2011. That very same year Abraham still released his follow-up, The Many Facets of…Abraham, and the 4th and 5th time we were in touch were, when Love I and Love II Hits were released in 2014 and 2015.
Now after eight years Abraham has come up with his 5th solo album, Music Is the Key. Abraham: “Between the release of Love II and the new album I was actively promoting my business, Hospitality Consultants of America. It pays the bills! I never left music. We have a serious love affair… I will never let go of the music. Music is my key to love and harmony.”
Delightfully Abraham has session musicians backing him up. In the rhythm section alone, there are as many as 17 players listed. Abraham: “I needed an assortment of different musicians to get the quality needed on these songs. Certain musicians were perfect for ballads while other were more funky for up-tempo songs.” On keyboards there are Robert Griffin, Bill Spencer and Anthony Cannon, on bass guitar Jesse De Carlo, Skylark and Anthony Cannon, on lead and rhythm guitars Kyle Kovalik and Don Caruth and finally on drums Gary Machado, Skylar Campbell, Mike Shannon and Peter Booras. Add to that still a 6-piece string section, eight background vocalists – including Abraham himself – and Roger Eddy on saxophone. “Skylark was the bass player for the Doobie Brothers for 15 years. He wrote System of Survival for Earth, Wind & Fire”(Billboard: #1 – hot black singles, #60-pop in 1987).
Abraham and his wife Rita with Dennis Edwards and his Temptations group: David Sea, Chris Arnold, Mike Patillo and Paul Williams, Jr., son of original Temptations member Paul Williams.
THREE BEAUTIFUL MELODIES FROM THE PAST
On this CD there are three songs that originally appeared on The Many Facets of…Abraham in 2011 (https://www.soulexpress.net/deep3_2011.htm#abrahamwilson). “Billy Washington (keys), Steve Anderson, Dennis Murphy (bass guitar), Frank Malley (guitar) and Kevin Harrington (drums) played on the Many Facets album.” One of those songs is the beautiful and romantic Sweet Memories, which Abraham had composed in 1983 when he desired to become a songwriter, but in this case Johnny Mathis turned the song down. Why Can’t We Fall in Love is another melodic ballad – in fact a very beautiful one – and here Abraham has Veeda Alexander as his duetting partner. If any, these two remarkable ballads have hit potential. The third track that was lifted off from the Facets CD is a Barry White inspired lush instrumental titled Orchestral Seduction.
The rest of the ten songs are all new. Abraham wrote them in 2022 and 2023, and they were cut in two studios. “Media Sound located in New York City with Gregg Mann as the engineer. Richard Bryant is the engineer at RJB Studios in beautiful Carmel, California.” Abraham thanks Richard also for being his vocal coach, and Skylark for music guidance.
The title song, Music Is the Key, gives this CD a funky start, and on two up-tempo, slightly psychedelic tracks – Let Me Clear My Throat and America…Something Ain’t Right – Abraham delivers a social message, partially rapping. In his own words “during turbulent times of 2020 to 2022, America experienced an unusually large amount of chaos and instability. Not being a skilled hip hop artist, I decided to try something different. How about an old school call and response with the first line delivered in a singing voice followed by a spoken rap response.”
Abraham turns the tempo down a bit for Trenchtown Rock, whichis a musically light, reggae-based story about rough life but sweet music in Kingston, Jamaica. Another mid-tempo delighter is Love Is Cool, whichis a tuneful and sparkling number with nice sax solos from Roger Eddy.
Abraham creates music in an office decorated with gold and platinum records.
FOR ALL THE DREAMERS
There are as many as five new beautiful ballads on this set, and the first one of them is Love Will Follow You, a smooth and attractive serenade. “The guitar solo on Love Will Follow You was performed by Don Caruth. Don also did all the guitar parts on Music Is the Key. Don is a great rhythm and lead guitarist from the San Francisco Bay Area.”
Rainbow Eyes is another soft and romantic ballad, as well as the atmospheric Unconditionally. Lady is an equally fascinating love song, whereas One Hundred Sheep is lyrically closer to an inspirational hymn than secular song.
The release date for this fine album is September 15, 2023, which also happens to be Abraham’s birthday. It will be available on his own website, which currently is under construction, and also on such music platforms as http://www.bandcamp.com and http://www.tunecore.com. The album cover was created by Ronald Eugene Brown in the form of a portrait. Abraham: “Those illustrations reflect various aspects of love, life, marriage, music and harmony. The portrait is in my office with all my music memorabilia. My intent with Music Is the Key is to offer musical diversity for more listeners to enjoy the total musical experience.”