Harmonica player, songwriter and singer Kim Wilson is as much a student and historian of classic blues as he is one of the U.S.’s top harmonica players. Simply put, Wilson has taste; when he enters the recording studio, he has a clear vision of what he wants his next record to sound like. Aside from all this, he’s also an extremely hard worker and a major road hog, spending upwards of 200 nights a year on the road, playing festivals and clubs throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe with his own Kim Wilson Band and leading the Fabulous Thunderbirds.
Although he’s long been known as the charismatic frontman for the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Wilson’s solo albums—which feature bands of his own choosing for different tracks—is where the genius in his work shows through most clearly. Born January 6, 1951 in Detroit, Wilson grew up in California. His parents were singers who would sing popular standards on the radio, and while Wilson took trombone and guitar lessons, he didn’t discover blues until he was a senior in high school. Wilson’s father later worked for General Motors and raised his family in Goleta, California, he recalled in a 1994 interview in his adopted hometown of Austin.