I greatly appreciate the work that the Dangerous Minds folk do, but they have been banging on about Jonathan Wilson for some time now and I’m not feeling it.
Here’s my thinking about this: When genre music is sufficiently developed, you’ll never achieve greatness unless you bring your personality, or some personality, to the performance. For instance, there’s hardly any reason to play the Blues unless you can project a larger-than-life personality in your lyrics and voice.
The “Laurel Canyon Sound” is old and established enough to be its own genre now. Jonathan Wilson is too respectful of it and he puts it in a museum (much like what Wynton Marsalis does with Jazz, no disrespect intended).
On the other hand, Joshua Tillman recorded the Father John Misty album, “Fear Fun,” with Jonathan Wilson as the producer. This is a wildly uneven album, but it nails the genre. Joshua Tillman plays the part of a drug-crazed Hollywood neer-do-well – it’s almost entirely an act, but it succeeds in being larger than life and overshadows the sense that you’re listening to a pastiche of Seals & Crofts songs.