b. 7 October 1940, Swainsboro, Georgia, USA. One of the definitive country soul singer-songwriters of the 70s, Wilson was a classic late bloomer. He did not start playing guitar until the age of 30, but five years later in 1975 he released his debut, New Beginnings, on the Monument Records label, home of Kris Kristofferson and country soul pioneer Tony Joe White. Wilson was immediately embraced as part of the mid-70s outlaw country movement that eschewed slick production in favour of a raw, gritty approach. With his deep, papa-bear voice, funky southern groove, and richly evocative narratives of rural Georgia life, Wilson was a unique stylist, but his gutsy, greasy sound did not translate into sales. He quit the music business in 1980, although he gradually began performing again in 1989.
In the new millennium, bits of Wilson’s legacy leaked out via his performance in the 70s outlaw country documentary Heartworn Highways, originally screened in 1981 and released on DVD in 2005, and the 2003 compilation Country Got Soul. In 2004, Wilson contributed to the Country Soul Revue album, produced by southern soul godfather Dan Penn and featuring White, Bonnie Bramlett, and Donnie Fritts. By 2008, Wilson was finally readying a new album for release.