Willie Gary is a seventeen-year-old artist from New York who released a complete DIY effort entitled The Virgin Gary. He mentions that he was influenced by a number of contemporary artists with Grizzly Bear being the main one. Aside from contemporary artist he points to The Beatles. I could definitely hear both Grizzly Bear and The Beatles in his music.
That being said Gary has a boatload of talent especially for someone his age. HIs songwriting is solid if a little inconsistent. The other thing I was impressed by was the production and recording quality. It’s a little shy of a professional studio but sounded great for a DIY effort made with consumer gear.
He opens with “Always There” which seemed to have a heavy influence from The Beatles. The song is really catchy and I thought the vocals were well done. I also felt the vocal harmonies in particular sounded well balanced in the mix. On top of that I caught the drums were panned hard right which was a classic production technique from The Beatles. Something you will rarely hear today.
Up next is “You Try I Try” which seems to be much more influenced by Grizzly Bar. It has a similar vocal style and guitar picking pattern you heard on “Yellow House.” “Where Do We Go” lays a little off the obvious influence. It’s an emotionally resonant song that hits the right spot. “Untitled” is a solo slide guitar effort showing some southern Mississippi blues flavor. Gary closes the album strong with a number of well-written songs. “It's Going Fine” and the sparse closer “To That Night” resonated with me the most.
Gary is a young guy and I remember being his age sort of. More specifically I remember writing music and being heavily influenced by the bands I admired. It’s a bit hard to avoid that when you are around his age. My advice to him is to get out of his comfort zone and keep digging to find his own sound. It will come but it usually takes some time. I wouldn’t say his songs sound like they are overflowing with influence but it's definitely noticeable whom he has looked up to.
Overall, Gary still delivers some impressive songs. I thought he was a good songwriter, guitar player and singer. That’s a good start in my opinion.
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