Tom Wilson (musician)

Last updated
Tom Wilson
Tom Wilson.jpg
Tom Wilson performing at the Haven Social Club in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Background information
Birth nameThomas Cunningham Wilson
Born1959 (age 6162)
Origin Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Genres Blues, rock, psychedelic folk, folk, Americana
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter, artist
Years active1980s–present
Associated acts
Website Tom Wilson

Thomas Cunningham Wilson (born 1959) is a Canadian rock musician from Hamilton, Ontario. A veteran of the Canadian music scene, Wilson has been a writer and performer for many years. Wilson's eclectic musical style has ranged from the psychobilly / R&B sounds of the Florida Razors, to the western/roots style of Blackie and the Rodeo Kings and the funk/blues inspired rock of Junkhouse.


Early life

Wilson grew up in Hamilton, Ontario, raised by his great-aunt and uncle. He was the son of Louis Beauvais, a Mohawk man, and Janie Lazare, who was also part Mohawk, [1] but was raised being told that his mother was his cousin and did not learn of his Mohawk heritage until the mid-2010s. [2] Wilson discovered he had been adopted when, by chance, a speaking tour handler who had been an old friend of his great-aunt mentioned she had been there the day he was adopted. [3] [4]


Tom Wilson's first performing band was The Florida Razors, formed in 1981 with bassist Carl Keesee, guitarist Jason Avery and drummer Greg Cannon. They released one full length album, Beat Music, in 1986 but dissolved in 1987. [5] [6]

In the 1990s Wilson fronted the band Junkhouse. [7] Junkhouse released three studio albums and a number of singles.

In 1996 he joined with Colin Linden, Stephen Fearing to form the roots rock trio Blackie and the Rodeo Kings. [8] [9]

In 1999 Wilson performed solo as part of The White Ribbon Concert at the Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto. [10]

In 2001 Wilson released a solo album, Planet Love, which featured the hit "Dig It". In 2006 he released his second solo album, Dog Years. In between the release of both solo albums, he partnered up with Daniel Lanois's older brother, Bob Lanois, to record The Shack Recordings Volume 1, a collection of quieter acoustic songs with Bob Lanois recording and accompanying him on blues harp on some songs.

It was around this time Wilson and comedian Cathy Jones met and became engaged. They split their time between Hamilton and Nova Scotia, though they never married. [11]

In 2011 he toured with Blackie and the Rodeo Kings in support of their album Kings and Queens. That year he performed at the Winnipeg Folk Festival. [12]

In 2015 Wilson was commissioned by the city of Hamilton to paint a mural depicting the history of music in the city. [13]

Wilson's most recent project is Lee Harvey Osmond, which is a collaborative effort with members of Cowboy Junkies and Skydiggers. [14]

His songs have been performed by Mavis Staples, Colin James, Stephen Fearing, Adam Gregory, Billy Ray Cyrus, Craig Northey, David Ricketts and Edwin. Numerous Wilson songs have been used in television, commercials and motion pictures.

In 2017 Wilson published a memoir of his life to date, titled Beautiful Scars. [15] The memoir addressed his discovery of his Mohawk heritage, which he also addressed musically for the first time on Lee Harvey Osmond's 2019 album Mohawk. [16]

Personal life

In 2006, Wilson was engaged to comedian Cathy Jones. [17] However, they were never married. [11]

Wilson has a daughter and a son from a previous marriage. [17] His son, Thompson Wilson, is also a musician, formerly part of the folk-rock group Harlan Pepper. They would occasionally tour together, and Harlan Pepper opened for Blackie and the Rodeo Kings on some of their concerts. [18]

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  1. Deborah Dundas, "Singer Tom Wilson faces his voice and his story in memoir". Toronto Star , November 18, 2017.
  2. "‘I am a living breathing lie’: Tom Wilson on learning the truth of his birth". Maclean's , November 14, 2017.
  3. Tom Wilson's surprising encounter with a stranger , retrieved 2019-02-14
  4. "How musician Tom Wilson discovered his Indigenous identity | CBC Radio". CBC. November 13, 2017. Retrieved 2019-02-14.
  5. "Florida Razors|Biography and History". AllMusic. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  6. "About - Tom Wilson Online". Tom Wilson Online. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  7. "A Steeltown secret: Tom Wilson's memoir goes deeper than your average rock 'n' roll book. Calgary Herald, Eric Volmers, December 2, 2017
  8. "Blackie and the Rodeo Kings". The Canadian Encyclopedia, Bruce Farley Mowat, Anne-marie Pedersen, February 19, 2013
  9. "Tom Wilson Dog Years". Exclaim!, By David McPherson, Mar 01, 2006
  10. "Live Reviews: The White Ribbon Concert The Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto, Ontario". Chart Attack, June 8, 1999, by Mike McCann
  11. 1 2 "Cathy Jones". FamPeople. Retrieved 22 March 2021.
  12. "The Mountain Man comes to the Prairies". Uniter, Adam Petrash, November 2, 2011
  13. "Tom Wilson Pays Homage to Hamilton's Musical History with New Mural. Exclaim!, By Kerry Doole, Mar 05, 2015
  14. Deming, Mark. "Blackie & the Rodeo Kings". AllMusic . Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  15. Kerry Doole, "In Beautiful Scars, Tom Wilson plumbs his Mohawk roots". Toronto Star , November 24, 2017.
  16. "Lee Harvey Osmond Announces 'Mohawk' Album". Exclaim! , November 21, 2018.
  17. 1 2 "Variety show spices up married life: Comic Cathy Jones weds her husband's music with her stand-up on a tour that gets the couple a little more together". Press Reader. Vancouver Sun. 6 March 2006. Retrieved 22 March 2021.
  18. "Tom Wilson and son Thompson perform as Lee Harvey Osmond at Peterborough's Market Hall on January 19". Kawartha Now. Retrieved 22 March 2021.