Vale Chris Wilson: An unsung Aussie bluesman passes away
One of Australia’s most renowned bluesmen and harmonica player, Chris Wilson, has passed away after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
He was 62.
News of his diagnosis – which marked the end of his performing career – was made public last July.
A Gofundme page set up by musician and friend Suzannah Espie raised $100,000 in 48 hours, after which Wilson closed it down.
A benefit concert at the Corner Hotel on August 24 included Steve Lucas, Kerri Simpson, Finn & George Wilson, Jerome Smith, Barb Waters, Shane O’Mara, Barry Palmer, Tim Rogers, Dave Hogan, Jo Jo Smith, Matt Dwyer and radio’s Max Crawdaddy on the decks.
Wilson was born in 1956 in the inner Melbourne suburb of Alphington.
Aside from harmonica, the multi-ARIA nominee also played saxophone and guitar.
He emerged with The Sole Twisters, Harem Scarem and Paul Kelly and The Coloured Girls, and fronted his band Crown of Thorns.
His solo albums are Landlocked (June 1992), The Long Weekend (March 1998), Spiderman (2000), King for a Day (July 2002), Flying Fish (2012) and Chris Wilson (2018).
Among his highlights were Live At The Continental (1994) which 23 years later yielded Chris Franklin’s documentary,
and 1996’s Wilson Diesel (with Johnny Diesel) whose Short Cool Ones reached #18 on the ARIA chart.
On 26 October 2013 Wilson Diesel reunited to perform the entire album at the Sydney Blues & Roots Festival.
Wilson was also an English teacher for 20 years in various schools around Victoria.
He expressed to Australian Musician the joy of playing live:
“It’s a great source of adventure. If your life is hard, it certainly helps you.
“For those people who are playing and finding it difficult, don’t quit.
“There are some really talented people who gave up.
“When you are getting somewhere towards where you want to go, the endurance is the important part.”