|If you didn’t know the title of the opening track on Brad “Guitar” Wilson, when the guitar kicks off, you might well think you’re about to hear a John Lee Hooker cover. But no. “Ballad Of John Lee” is both a Wilson original and an all-out tribute to the blues giant. And what better way to honor him than to frame it in Hooker’s trademark boogie rhythm and sprinkle it with some of the bluesman’s lowdown “how-how-how” vocalisms.
The self-produced album’s dozen tracks are split evenly between Wilson tunes and renditions of some significant blues classics. While the economical production features only guitar, bass, drums and occasionally keyboards, this bare-bones approach allows the focus to be squarely on Wilson’s tasty guitar and its killer tones. Tracks two through five are all covers. Having already given a tip of the hat and a raise of the glass to one blues legend, Wilson pays homage to four more beginning with a rousing shuffle, namely Muddy Waters’ “Walkin’ Thru The Park,” which gives way to B.B. King’s “Rock Me Baby.”
Wilson’s modus operandi is not only to utilize a traditional call-and-response between his voice and guitar, but also to have them overlap on some numbers, essentially creating a double lead in which his axe doesn’t echo his vocal but rather offers its own lines simultaneously with neither crowding out the other. Completing the foursome of consecutive covers is a nod to Stevie Ray Vaughan with a house-rockin’ (what else?) “House Is Rockin’,” followed and contrasted by a soulful take on Freddie King’s “Someday After Awhile.”
A pair of Wilson originals includes “You’re The One For Me,” a departure from standard blues formats and a vocal hook that may bounce around your noggin long after the album ends. “All Kinds Of A Fool” is classic blues fare: pure self-recrimination with alternately aching and angry guitar underscoring words of regret: “I mistreated you baby/Oh I was wrong/You wouldn’t stand for it, no, very long.” The album’s tour de force is a live eight-minute-plus deep dive into Willie Dixon’s “I Can’t Quit You Baby.” The highlight—with the accent on high—comes in his solo when he squeezes out incredible wailing licks waaaaaaaay up on his guitar neck. If the notes were any higher, only a dog would be able to hear them.
With its tropical feel and Wilson’s guitar work upping the humidity, “Hang With A Bang” is another excursion out of the blues arena while “Avatar” is the album’s sole instrumental. Only an artist with Wilson’s chops and confidence would take on the last cover: Cream’s “Tales of Brave Ulysses.” Rather than attempt to out-wah-wah Clapton, Wilson keeps it respectfully Creamy, yet adds his own guitar and vocal phrasing. The final track is “Drivin’,” co-written by Willem Van Kempen. Summing up his musical philosophy as well as the motivation for Brad “Guitar” Wilson, he sings, “Drivin’—there’s nothing that I’d rather do/Drivin’ to play the blues for you.”
International guitarist/singer/songwriter Brad “Guitar” Wilson has a soulful contemporary sound, tapping into all his sources of inspiration. His performances have made him a stand-out hit at countless shows. Considered more than a talented guitarist by his audience, Brad is an exciting entertainer. As a charismatic guitarist, vocalist and songwriter, Brad has become known as a modern hot guitar player, who can entertain the house with the best of them. His show features his songwriting and great renditions of dance cover songs. Brad’s live show is presented with spirit and class.
Brad completed his first European tour of the Netherlands in 2019 and will return in May and October 2022. He has toured numerous times with the legendary group, Chicago. As a special guest, he has been on stage at sold-out arena shows throughout California, including four shows scheduled this year, entertaining several thousand people at each concert. Brad has opened for Buddy Guy, Cheap Trick, .38 Special, Marshall Tucker Band, Tommy Castro, and many others. He has established an identity as a guitar-star entertainer, performing at huge concerts at the West Coast’s largest casinos and festivals.
During 2020 and in 2021, Brad built a streaming show called “The Californian.” The 30-minute show became a hit and introduced Wilson to a new audience worldwide. Brad’s hot electric guitar solo work and his in-depth acoustic guitar playing entertain viewers with both songwriting and singing. With three albums and now these new records, the shows feature songs from a deep catalog. Season two of “The Californian” will begin in 2022.
Already a three-album-charting hit maker on worldwide radio, he scored his first U.S. #1 movie track with the song, “Teaser,” from John Carpenter’s film, Vampires, a collaboration with producers, The Robb Brothers. For the next smash soundtrack, Brad subsequently joined forces with John Carpenter and some of Los Angeles’ hottest musicians for the music to the movie, Ghosts of Mars, starring Ice Cube. Other major accomplishments include his songs featured on television shows The Young & The Restless (CBS) and Passions (NBC). Brad has three best-selling albums: Blues Thunder, Power Blues Guitar Live and Hands On The Wheel.