born on 6/1/1951 in Detroit, MI, United States
Kim Wilson (born January 6, 1951) is an American blues singer and harmonica player. He is best known as the lead vocalist and frontman for the Fabulous Thunderbirds on two hit songs of the 1980s, "Tuff Enuff" and "Wrap It Up." Wilson wrote "Tuff Enuff," the group's only Top 40 hit.
Wilson was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1951, but he grew up in Goleta, California, where he sometimes went by the stage name of "Goleta Slim." He started with the blues in the late 1960s and was tutored by people like Muddy Waters, Jimmy Rogers, Eddie Taylor, Albert Collins, George "Harmonica" Smith, Luther Tucker and Pee Wee Crayton and was influenced by harmonica players such as Little Walter, James Cotton, Big Walter Horton, Slim Harpo and Lazy Lester. Before he moved to Austin, Texas, in 1974, he was the leader of the band Aces, Straights and Shuffles in Minneapolis, Minnesota; the band released one single. In Austin he formed the Fabulous Thunderbirds with guitarist Jimmie Vaughan. They became the house band at Antone's, a blues club owned by Clifford Antone.
Wilson continues to perform up to 300 concert dates per year at blues music festivals and clubs all over the world, both as leader of the Fabulous Thunderbirds and with Kim Wilson's Blues Allstars.
His powerful style of blues harp playing has been described as "loaded with the textures of a full-blown horn section."
In 2015, Wilson made a guest appearance playing the harmonica on Karen Lovely's album, Ten Miles of Bad Road.
In 2016, Wilson won a Blues Music Award in the 'Instrumentalist - Harmonica' category.
- 1993: Tigerman (Antone's)
- 1994: That's Life (Antone's)
- 1997: My Blues (Blue Collar)
- 2001: Smokin' Joint (M.C.)
- 2003: Looking for Trouble (M.C.)
- 2006: My Blues Sessions: Kim's Mix, Volume I (Bluebeat)
- 2017: Blues and Boogie, Vol. 1 (Severn)
- Ronnie Earl, Smokin' (1983)
- Roomful of Blues, Dressed Up To Get Messed Up (1984)
- Ronnie Earl, They Call Me Mr. Earl (1984)
- Ron Levy's Wild Kingdon, Ron Levy's Wild Kingdom (1988)
- Kid Ramos, Kid Ramos (1999)
- Snuff Johnson, Will The Circle Be Unbroken (Black Magic Records, 1994)
- James Cotton, & Friends
- Bonnie Raitt, Road Tested (1995)
- Big Jack Johnson, The Memphis Barbecue Sessions (2002)
- JW-Jones, Bogart's Bounce (guest, 2002); My Kind of Evil (producer and guest, 2004)
- Wentus Blues Band, Family Album (Bluelight Records, 2004)
- Barrelhouse Chuck, Got My Eyes on You (2007)
- Omar Kent Dykes & Jimmie Vaughan, Jimmy Reed Highway (2007)
- Louisiana Red, Back to the Black Bayou (Ruf Records, 2008)
- Elvin Bishop, The Blues Rolls On (2008)
- Eric Clapton, Clapton (Reprise, 2010)
- Mark Knopfler, Privateering (2012)
- Smokin' Joe Kubek & Bnois King, Road Dog's Life (Delta Groove Productions, 2013)
- Barrelhouse Chuck, Driftin' From Town To Town (2013)
- The Robert Cray Band, 4 Nights of 40 Years (2015)
- Buddy Guy, Born to Play Guitar (2015)
- Thornetta Davis, Honest Woman (2016)
- Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues: From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books Limited. p. 110. ISBN 1-85868-255-X.
- Fabulous Thunderbirds Archived January 20, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
- Gallo, Phil (April 6, 1998). "Kim Wilson's Blues Revue". Variety.com.
- "BLUES, Roots, Americana, blues singer songwriter,BMA Nominee Best Contemporary Blues Album,Best Contemporary Blues Female Artist,Song of the Year. 7X Muddy Award Winner. Winner 2nd Place Band 2010 International Blues Challenge. No. 1 Pick to Click XM Radio Bluesville". Karen Lovely. Retrieved October 7, 2016.
- "2016 Blues Music Awards Winner List". Blues411.com. Retrieved May 23, 2016.
- 2009 Interview Bluesinlondon Magazine
- Example of Kim Wilson's harp-work on YouTube, accompanied by Gene Taylor
- Wilson's biography on the Fabulous Thunderbirds website