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The Wilson Brothers perform "Lonesome Old Home"
Russell Wilson, noted for his high, lonesome tenor voice, and his brother Curnie
were influenced by their mother’s mountain gospel singing. The duo went on to
play some hard-core traditional bluegrass together for 24 years.
The Wilson Brothers (of Kentucky) were the first to be honored in Gallatin
County with a music award for outstanding performance.
As did many bluegrass musicians, their first experience of singing in public came
when singing in the local church.
They spread their wings when, in the early 1960’s, the young brothers were
recruited by J. D. Jarvis, with whom they travelled for a time. While singing at a
Lawrenceburg, IN, church they met Ralph Stanley, who invited them to appear at
his bluegrass festival in McClure, Virginia.
Little did they know that Ralph Stanley would be responsible for the name they
had been unable to decide for themselves. Stanley merely introduced them as
The Wilson Brothers.
They recorded six albums; We’ll Work ’til Jesus Comes (Pine Tree, released in
1971), Sacred Songs in the Stanley Tradition (Old Homestead, 1974), Preach
the Word (Old Homestead, 1977), My Ride is Coming (Old Homestead, 1979),
Lonesome Old Home (Vetco (released in 1980), re-released as a CD on the
Crosscut label, 1999) and Time to Pray (Vetco, (released in 1984), re-released
as a CD on the Crosscut label, 2000).
In 2003 Russell Wilson released a solo album, Trooper Lee, on Crosscut (CR
Among the many songs written by Wilson are Rejoice With Mom and Dad, This
Lost Sinner’s Prayer, What More Do You Need, Life’s Other Side (also recorded
by Ralph Stanley) and The Stanley’s Will Sing Again.
The brothers also composed the music for Ed Hamilton’ s Lonesome Old Home
lyrics; the recording by Longview led to it becoming the IBMA’s song of the year
Due to poor health, The Wilson Brothers last public appearance was in 1984.