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Geoffrey Wilson, Thursday, April 14th, 2011, Muse & Music Series, General Society of Tradesmen And Mechanics

The General Mechanics Society on 44th staged its second Muse and Music session Thursday the 14th. It’s an endeavor to dig deeper into the talented musicians of today. It aims not only at experiencing the musical talent but to understand the inspiration behind the passion.


Brooklyn based Geoffrey Wilson, sat atop a kick box with two drum pedals at his feat to add perfectly to the rhythm of his melodies. One pedal strikes the box and the other raps a tambourine creating just enough percussion to carry on his indulgent tones.


Inspired by the Civil War, Wilson’s vocals are reminiscent of the tragic times of mid 1800s slavery as the cotton drifts into the sky and workers dream of better days. One of the first songs of Wilson’s set, Eli Whitney,  sings about the cotton picking machine created to make harvesting easier. Ultimately though, it assisted in the expansion of the slave trade and the pain that ensued. 


With soulful yet bright-tinted blues, you could find Wilson sitting on a rickety stool at some dusty crossroads of the South belting stories of the cultural ripples of slavery, the family trials of war caused by it, and the need for the comfort of a woman’s arms. 


In a discussion with rock nyc co-editor Iman Labadebi, Wilson explained that he started playing the saxophone and had obtained a bachelor’s degree in Jazz. He began reading and writing about Confederate General Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson, who taught his slaves how to read and write. It developed into a great interest in the Civil War


Writing on the subject became an avenue for his creativity. “[It began] as a hobby, and something I feel. I haphazardly follow my emotions,” Wilson explains. When added to music, this whim, he notes, unleashed the singer-songwriter he is today.


The times of the past, he recognizes, were so, “simple on the outside, but emotionally complex underneath.” This juxtaposition is sincerely reflected in his songwriting. Its heard in sounds of simplicity, religious references, fluid strums, light fingerpicking, and a majestically clean voice. However, the lyrics, and their meaning, are something that invokes a deeper spiritual wonderment about the actions and livelihood of the war torn past. 


Wilson tries to exist simply like the romantic times of the past; he feels today has lost that innocence that his music encapsulates, “I try to live a life that is simple as possible despite the time.”


In the last few pieces, Wilson performs one of his first songs: “Stonewall Jackson.” It is a sort of appreciation for treating his slaves with, “ a kind Christian tenderness.” Jackson was one of very few. 


The building trembled with his use of “the n word" interjected in the soft stylings during the song. In a time of political correctness, it juts out and makes one squirm in their  conscience, and dam right, because Wilson had something to say and he’s not afraid to sing it. 

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