Los Angeles songwriter Jonathan Wilson is one of the most talented and sought-after producers. He's collaborated with music legends like David Crosby, Jackson Browne, and Roger Waters and produced music for indie stars like Dawes and Father John Misty. But Wilson is also a recording artist in his own right and he's out with a new solo album titled "Rare Birds."
Wilson sat down with "CBS This Morning: Saturday" co-host Anthony Mason to talk about his new album and the art of songwriting.
"You have to put the feelers out, you know, and you kinda have to pray," Wilson said. "I mean, I have songs in the back of my head still that I could play from, that are not done, from the year 1999, you know."
Wilson moved to Los Angeles as a teenager to try and make it big in a band. It didn't exactly work out.
"So I basically tucked my tail and went back like to the South where I'm from," he said.
But the North Carolina boy had L.A. under his skin and worked his way back to the West Coast. He set up an analog studio in Laurel Canyon, once the home of Joni Mitchell and Jackson Browne, and grew obsessed with their sound.
"There's just sort of a spirit of that time, you know, 1969 ... I was kinda trying to conjure, you know, the vibe," he said.
That vibe flowed through "Gentle Spirit," his debut solo album in 2011. Wilson was also making a name for himself as a producer. That same year, he produced and played on the acclaimed debut album of Father John Misty.
"I don't think we really expected it to blow up at that time. And then it just, you know, it was like 'wow,'" Wilson said.
Roger Waters would record much of his latest solo album in Wilson's studio and then invited Wilson to tour with him. He played lead guitar on Waters' Pink Floyd songs.
"There's not a lot of people I would go with and, you know, be in their band, quote/unquote. But for sure, he's the guy."
While touring the world, Wilson was working on a new solo album "Rare Birds," that moves him beyond the Laurel Canyon sound.
As for songwriting, he said that's the "hardest part."
"Because that's the part you really have to put your name on the dotted line. And this is it, this is my song."