With a nudge from a Grammy-nominated producer and help from some talented friends, local musician Paul Wilkinson, longtime guitarist for the West Chester-based roots rock band Mason Porter, recently released his debut solo album under the 400 Bears moniker.
A blend of folk, Americana and blues, the self-titled record starts out with nine original tunes before concluding with an 9-minute cover of the traditional “Take This Hammer,” featuring the aforementioned producer, Glenn Ferracone, on drums and his son, Luke Ferracone, on electric guitar.
Wilkinson credits some of his musical heroes with providing inspiration for his originals. The songs, he said, incorporate the subtlety of Mississippi John Hurt, the charisma of Taj Mahal and the omnipresence of Bob Dylan in his life. “80’s Mercedes” and “Small Town,” meanwhile, are evocative of the Grateful Dead, whose music Wilkinson discovered in his parents’ record collection as a youngster.