Kim Wilson has been playing blues harmonica since he was 17 and has made Tucson a regular stop on his solo tours.

Bluesman and harmonica great Kim Wilson had to sit out last year’s Southern Arizona Blues & Heritage Foundation’s inaugural “Wintertime Blues Bash.”

But he and his Blues All-Stars are back for the second annual event on Friday, Dec. 6, at El Casino Ballroom, 437 E. 26th St.

The concert, presented by the Southern Arizona Blues & Heritage Foundation and KXCI, also features The New Speedway Stompers, with Chicago bluesman Billy Wildman on harmonica. Wildman played Maxwell Street in Chicago in the 1970s and fronted the house band at Dan Aykroyd’s Blues Bar in Chicago in the 1980s.

Wilson comes to the El Casino stage fresh from a long stretch of shows with Buddy Guy, Devil in a Woodpile, Joel Paterson and The Silver Kings, according to press materials.

Wilson, the voice and harmonica behind the blues blasting Texas band Fabulous Thunderbirds, has made Tucson a regular stop on his solo tours.

The 68-year-old Detroit native has been playing blues harmonica since he was 17, taking cues from Little Walter, George “Harmonica” Smith, Lazy Lester and James Cotton. Before long, he added his voice to the mix, drawing influences from Bobby “Blue” Bland, B.B. King, Otis Rush, Jimmy Rogers and Muddy Waters.

Barely out of his teens, Wilson moved to Austin, Texas, and dove into the exploding music scene. He befriended Jimmie Vaughan and the pair founded the T-Birds in 1974.

The T-Birds tour a handful of dates a year, giving Wilson the freedom to hit the road with his Blues All-Stars, which in Tucson this time will include guitarists Billy Flynn and Bob Welsh, bass player Kedar Roy and drummer Andrew Guterman.

Doors to Friday’s concert open at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7:30.


Cathalena has covered music for the Star for the past 20 years. She's a graduate of Arizona State University has worked at Sedona Red Rock News, Niagara Gazette in Niagara Falls, New York; and USA Today.