Smoky Wilson | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Smoky Wilson 

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

SMOKEY WILSON

Mention west-coast blues and most people usually think of the smooth, jazz-inflected stylings pioneered by T-Bone Walker and carried into the present day by veterans like Charles Brown and Floyd Dixon. LA's Smokey Wilson, however, has never abandoned his Mississippi Delta roots. Wilson's slide-guitar slithers and stings with an intensity somewhere between the distorted ecstasy of Hound Dog Taylor and the keening viciousness of Elmore James. Even when he updates his sound to include post-B.B. King string bends and arpeggios he retains a sense of primal fervor. But though he sings with the same throaty vibrato and tonal aggression that characterize the Mississippi tradition, Wilson is also a skilled modern lyricist: his "88th Street Blues," for instance, is as sharply drawn a slice of urban blues life as you're likely to encounter this side of the late Lefty Dizz's "Bad Avenue." This kind of no-frills electric urban blues is becoming a rare commodity, even in Chicago, so catch it while you can. Wilson is featured as part of the Bullseye Blues label's Smokin' 5th Anniversary Tour, whose bill also includes Smokin' Joe Kubek and Pat Boyack & the Prowlers. Saturday, 10 PM, Buddy Guy's Legends, 754 S. Wabash; 427-0333 or 427-1190.

DAVID WHITEIS

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by E.K. Waller.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
April 30 1
Performing Arts
June 26

Popular Stories