Also known as “Mr. 43rd Street,” Oscar Wilson is a walking jukebox of great music from the 1950s, but primarily a repository of deep Chicago blues. Growing up on Chicago’s south side in a large family, he was immersed in the music and the culture of the blues. An older sister married Otis “Big Smokey” Smothers, who gave him a few pointers on guitar.


However, he didn’t start performing until his kids were grown, at which time a reservoir of music broke loose, and hasn’t stopped pouring out of him. He has also written original songs about topical issues but with a vintage feel. On stage he may frame a song with a narrative that personalizes it and involves the audience in poignant and often hilarious ways. He’s got the knowledge, the tone, the pacing, and the genetic connection to resurrect past masterpieces of the blues canon in moving performances that knock audiences at out. Wilson is a member of the Cash Box Kings (see Sunday’s Front Porch stage) and has also recorded with Sam Burkhardt and Joel Paterson on One Room Blues (Airway).

A masterful musician and a tastefully cool, retro cat who brings beautiful old instruments and vintage rock, blues, and country tunes back to life, Joel Paterson juggles his time between the Cash Box Kings, Devil in a Woodpile, Western Elstons, The Modern Sounds, the Joel Paterson Trio, and any number of other simultaneous projects. He has recorded and produced a tidy catalog of CDs on his own Ventrella label, including sessions with Carl “Sonny” Leyland, three with The Modern Sounds, and several solo—most recently a marvelous collection of all-instrumental guitar Christmas tunes. All are impeccably designed by him to approximate the look of jazz recordings of the 1950s. In addition he has recorded with harpist Jim Liban, David “Honeyboy” Edwards, The Four Charms, Deke Dickerson, Wanda Jackson, and The Cash Box Kings.

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