Bill Wilcox
Wilcox Headshot Rotated.jpg

Here we are again… Thanksgiving 2020 everyone… which means that we celebrate 15 years of Twangville's existence. For as long as I can remember, I've been writing Thanksgiving toast every year to thank our contributors, our community, and the artists who give us something to listen to and write to. Without someone to make the music, we would have nothing to share. Without your dear readers, we would have no one to share musical discoveries with. All in all, thank you a hundred times for being part of this community.

Last year we continued the Twangville Thanksgiving tradition (also known as Twangsgiving) by letting you get to know one of our contributors a little better by toasting the extraordinary, Jeff McMahon.

Bill Wilcox

Let's get a glass to Bill Wilcox on this Thanksgiving Day. When Bill came to us in 2011, he single-handedly raised the bar for our blues coverage. Before we could hardly call ourselves an Americana & Blues blog. Not only does Bill share his latest discoveries, his reviews are often rooted in the blues history that links the now with the then. I get excited every time Bill publishes an article because I know I will be enriched spiritually and emotionally. Although I haven't met Bill in person yet, he's no stranger. He's been part of this community since 2011 and is definitely the Twangville family. To you, Bill! Thank you so much for bringing the good kind of blues to all of us. Twangville is a better place, no doubt, because of you.

Interview with Bill Wilcox

(Twangville) What is your first musical memory?
(Bill) I listen to my sisters play "I want to hold your hand" on the radio while I hide in the dishwasher in my kitchen.

What's the first music you ever bought?
I'd love to say it was something nifty or cool, but honestly it was probably something from the Monkees – "I'm a believer" with "I'm not your stepping stone" on the B-side.

First concert?
Jerry Jeff Walker with the opening of Vassar Clements.

What drew you to the blues?
I've always liked little pentatonic notes and bluesy music. My favorite Beatles song as a kid was "For You Blue," the B-side of "The Long and Winding Road," which featured John Lennon Slide and mumbled, "Elmore James has nothing to do with it, baby". Then someone gave me a John Mayall album and I gradually explored it further, starting with B. B. King, Muddy Waters, etc.

Do you have a favorite sub-genre of blues?
It depends on my mood, but I'm in the mood for country acoustic blues or post war Chicago stuff the most.

What in general don't people know about the blues they should?
While most people trace the origin of the blues among enslaved people and later among the partakers in the south, few understand how closely it is really connected to the pentatonic music of West African countries like Mali, Senegal and Gambia or that of the banjo its roots in these African countries. Taj Mahal, Ry Cooder, Corey Harris and Eric Bibb have all made great collaborations with West African artists who highlight these relationships. If you're wondering what I'm talking about, check out Boubacar Traore, Ali Farka Toure, Habib Koite, and Idrissa Soumaoro.

Which artist would you like to induct into the Twangville Hall of Fame?
John Prine is, was, and will be America's greatest songwriter (by the way, it was right here in Twangville that Prine was first referred to as Mark Twain the singer-songwriter).

Which artist would you consider guilty pleasure?
I listen to some pop bands from the 70s and 80s (e.g. Men at Work) on occasion, but a more common guilty pleasure these days has to be listening to mainstream countries like George Strait or Garth Brooks.

Which five songs would be on your mixtape on the lonely island?
Songs? Not even albums? I was ready for albums (Great Days John Prine Anthology, Dylan's Blood on the Tracks, Ry Cooders Paradise and Lunch, Corey Harris & # 39; Greens from the Garden, Luther Allison & # 39; s Soul Fixin & # 39; Man) but only songs are closed heavy. I give up.

What is the best American city to see music in?
I've lived in Minneapolis, Washington, DC, and Philadelphia and enjoyed roots and americana music. Everyone had great places to see our people.

Are there any local bands from this city (or your own) that people should see?

  • Philadelphia – Steve Guyger, Mikey Junior, toy soldiers
  • Washington, D.C – Deanna Bogart, Tom Principato, the Nighthawks, Jimmy Thackery and Phil Wiggins
  • Minneapolis – Mason Jennings, the Jayhawks, the Honeydogs

What's the best way to support musicians?
Money. Buy their work, buy tickets to their shows.

What's your favorite Thanksgiving dessert?
Pumpkin pie.

Best way to cook a turkey?
Sorry vegetarians. But when I ate meat, I was partially interested in someone else cooking.

Are you grateful for this year?
That it's almost over.

Suggestions for awkward or controversial Thanksgiving dinner topics?
With a pandemic out now, responsible people will avoid these extended family meetings so I don't have to listen to in-laws booming about politics.

Best album of 2020 so far?
Sonny Landreth – asphalt run

What's your favorite vacation album?
A John Prine Christmas

Thank you Bill! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

About the author: Web designer in Washington, DC by day. Music is my muse. I host Twangville's Weekly Readers' Pick.


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