From the desk of Mick Tequila…
Cutting his teeth in the club circuit, SMOKE WILSON is a merciless performer. Fearless, original & most importantly; bloody entertaining. Masterfully negotiating the tightrope between chaos and order, He consistently conquers the typically jaded crowd, But it takes more than parlor tricks to break the audience’s heart.
Blues hallucinations, ghostly psychedelia & a confessional soul. Rock & Roll for a seemingly doomed America.
The culmination of his remarkably innovative guitar playing, an instantly recognizable voice & gifted lyricism reveals an otherworldly depth of talent with plenty of room to stretch out.
But at 6 foot 5 inches, he is comfortable being the elephant in the room.
From the first rumble of “I’ve Changed Too” it’s apparent that Smoke is here to clear the air. In the silence before the trademark riff finally drops, one can usually hear a few audience members gasp. Roaring feedback, Glacial clean tones, Raw knuckled attack. A left handed Stratocaster could overshadow everything, but his seductive wit takes center stage. “Just like a dragon, breathing fire from your nose. You said that you’ve changed, but all you did was change your clothes”.
The material actually stands for something. Behind the fuzz drenched tones are arrangements with remarkable elegance & a knack for weaving something seemingly careless into utter perfection.
There is a physicality to it & Smoke Wilson is the perfect Rock & Roll silhouette. Wielding sheer rock candy savagery, the influence of the old masters is visceral. Jagger, Hendrix, Berry, Townsend. Playing with his teeth, behind the head, smashed guitars, exploding drum sets; Smoke has that in spades. During a performance, it’s as if his Fender is a dance partner & together not only do they know every trick in the book, but invent a new one every night. At times it’s hard to tell where Wilson ends & his Stratocaster begins.
As a composer, Smoke shows a tremendous sense of craft. Exploring the subject matter of life & death, addiction, freedom, the romantic, the supernatural & ultimately redemption; There is drama in the songs. Raucous & animalistic one moment, subtle & nuanced the next. It is obvious he writes music for the right reasons, But it’s the syncopation & Smoke’s uninhibited bluesy howl that makes you believe him. A gravelly rasp with a firmly held belief or conviction. Whether explaining his broken heart or poetically cursing out the system, he does so with steamroller strength. His voice is entirely his own & it’s too loud not to be heard.
Interestingly enough, Wilson developed a longtime friendship with perhaps the most notable artist alive today in Ralph Steadman. Widely known for his illustration’s in Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas, his work goes far, far deeper than that. Gracing not one but three of Smoke’s boutique studio album covers, Steadman is among the most skilled painters of our time, and his pure gonzo style is unarguably the most recognizable. See Johnny Depp’s documentary on Ralph “For No Good Reason” if you’re unfamiliar, or his gorgeously detailed art books “I, Leonardo” or “The Grapes Of Ralph”.
The polished studio albums, “Blue Sky Traffic”, “ VoLcanO” and the yet to be released “Peacemaker” were captured at the legendary Blackbird Studio D in Nashville, TN. Under the glossy surface, The records show a surprising mastery of rock’s past & future, explosive live band hip hop & unshakable hooks. Upon first listen, it is evident Smoke is a dreamer with the balloon ambition to trigger a new era.
This is the rare artist breathing new life into Rock & Roll post Hip Hop.
As the song says, there’s sixteen hundred fifty two guitar pickers in Nashville. That’s an understatement, there’s more. But the difference, the big variable; SMOKE WILSON is going for blood.