One Track Mind: John Wesley, “Mary Will” from Disconnect (2014)

A heart-wrenching tale of the search for redemption, with a calescent riff to match, John Wesley’s “Mary Will” is for everyone who ever worried they’d never overcome the mistakes of the past. Here, we find someone struggling under the impossible weight of an unspoken secret. Lost and alone, he happens upon a statue of Mary — and her eyes offer something unexpected: white depths of forgiveness, some long-hoped-for sense of solace.

Wesley creates a dark world unto its own, but also a galvanizing shard to hope, with “Mary Will” — a key track off Disconnect, the singer/guitarist’s just-released follow up to 2011’s Lilypad Suite. In some ways, it’s not unlike Porcupine Tree and Marillion, a pair of bands he’s become associated with, in that there is a broad narrative sweep amid these raw, confessional lyrics. But Wesley has his own voice, both vocally and instrumentally. There’s a reason he’s so often worked with those standard-bearer groups: Wesley has the goods.

Wesley’s collaborations with Steven Wilson are highlighted by work on both In Absentia and Fear of the Blank Planet, issued by the now-dormant Porcupine in 2002 and 2007, respectively. Wesley’s 2005 release Shiver was also mixed by Wilson. He’s set to appear in May as the opener for Blackfield’s only U.S. show, a date that will also mark Wilson’s final appearance with the group.

Previous to that, Wesley toured as an opening act for Marillion in the 1990s, collaborated extensively on former frontman Fish’s 2001 album Fellini Days, and has also worked with the band’s Steve Hogarth and Steve Rothery, along the way.

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Nick DeRiso

Over a 30-year career, Nick DeRiso has also explored music for USA Today, All About Jazz, Ultimate Classic Rock and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the nation by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Contact him at nderiso@somethingelsereviews.com.