Don Wilson

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b. 5 April 1961, Grand Prairie, Texas, USA. From infancy Wilson was raised in Dallas, where he heard his father’s record collection, which was dominated by Gene Autry. Other early influences from the…
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b. 5 April 1961, Grand Prairie, Texas, USA. From infancy Wilson was raised in Dallas, where he heard his father’s record collection, which was dominated by Gene Autry. Other early influences from the same source included Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Buddy Holly. From the age of eight, his father, Tige Wilson, taught Don to play guitar and he also began learning songs, which he heard on radio, records and television. At nine he was introduced to Elvis Presley before a Houston concert. Later, Wilson would recall Presley’s engaging attitude towards him: ‘I said, “Hello, Mr. Presley”, and he replied, “No, that’s my daddy over there... I’m Elvis.”’ He met Presley again in November 1971 a week before Wilson’s parents and his sister were killed in a railroad accident. Thereafter, Presley maintained the friendship with the boy, which continued for the rest of the star’s life. Reputedly, the last letter that Presley was known to write was to Wilson.

Through the 70s, Wilson continued to absorb musical influences and form friendships with artists such as Johnny Lee, Ernest Tubb and Billy Lee Riley. By the end of the 70s, Wilson was performing regularly, appearing in clubs and on radio. He became host of the popular Memphis-based show Mystery Train. Later, in California, he teamed up with Joe Esposito as production consultants for The Definitive Elvis, a 16-hour series on DVD. Around this time he met Glen Glenn, singing and playing on his shows and it was Glenn who produced Wilson’s recording debut, We’re Gonna Rock. On a later album, Wilson drew heavily for inspiration on Cash and on 2004’s Tribute To Johnny Cash he chose mostly Cash compositions. On the album, which was also produced by Glenn, Wilson was joined by guitarists Alan Clark and Billy Webb, bass player Russell Scott and drummer Phillipe Aubochon, as well as pianist Steve Moore and blues harpist Jeff Masters.