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Tim Wilson: Hillbilly Homeboy

[cover art]
Georgia-born country comedian Tim Wilson was a born funnyman, delivering dead-on impressions of his teachers while still in elementary school; he later emceed his high school's talent shows, but after taking up guitar as a teen he instead aspired to a career in music. While in college he accepted a job as a sportswriter, later convincing his editors to allow him to review local concerts as well; at an Atlanta Rhythm Section date, Wilson passed along his demo tape to the group's drummer Roy Yaeger, who agreed to produce a session at his Georgia studio. The resulting demo went nowhere, however, and so Wilson instead turned to comedy; immediately he earned a devoted local following, and soon after won a Cinemax stand-up competition. A series of television spots followed, including an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno; in 1990, he also teamed with the duo of Pinkard & Bowden to write the song "Arab, Alabama," and its success convinced him to include music in his stand-up act. In addition to a series of LPs for the independent Southern Tracks label, Wilson scored a hit single with his "Garth Brooks Ruined My Life," also co-writing Jeff Foxworthy's smash "The Redneck Twelve Days of Christmas." Upon signing to Capitol, he released his major-label debut It's a Sorry WorldGettin' My Mind Right followed later that same year. In 2000 he issued Hillbilly Homeboy which was helped by the success of its first single, "The Ballad of John Rocker."
--Jason Ankeny, All-Music Guide

Levon Helm contributes harmonica, drums and mandolin on Hillbilly Homeboy. The recordings took place in late February 2000 at the Muscle Shoals Sound Studios. Below is an excerpt from an interview with Wilson published at the Capitol Records Nashville web site, where he talks about working with Levon:

[Tim Wilson]
Tim Wilson
"Iím not writing to please people in New York," Wilson says proudly. "Iím Southern, like Elvis was Southern. Skynyrd was Southern. Thatís what I know. And if youíre going to write a NASCAR song, it better be Southern as hell."

Notice the references to musicians. Wilson takes his music seriously. His last two albums featured players from the Atlanta Rhythm Section and the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. This time out, his usual drummer wasnít available. "I wanted a back-porchy, stripped down sound on this record," he says. "Levon Helm, from The Band, plays like that and it was always a dream of mine to work with him. So I took a shot that I could find him and get him to play on the record." Wilson asked someone who knew someone, who knew someone else who knew Helm to play on the record. Helm said yes, came down from his home in upstate New York and contributed drums and mandolin to the songs.

He may, in fact, be the first person to play mandolin on a rap-style song. The title track, "Hillbilly Homeboy," is a cultural mish-mosh about a gangsta rapper who goes hillbilly. "I thought it would be funny to mix the two cultures," says Wilson. "The song is stereotypical inner city homeboy and stereotypical redneck." (He left the inner city and moved to the hills/ Traded in his crack pipe on a moonshine still/ His gang bandana sure looked bad/ but itís the only color that the bait store had)

Other selections from Wilson and his songwriting partner Danny Simpson include "Ugly Country" (I liked country better back when it was ugly/ Girls never threw panties at David Allan Coe), "Ballad of John Rocker" (John Rocker your proctologist called/ They just found your head), "Talladega" (Ainít never gonna take your family back to Talladega again/ They steal enough stuff to start a race team every time we been); and "Learn To Ride" (Kawasaki was a cuss word/ In our Harley home).

"Musically, this album is better than my last," Wilson says. "I really concentrated on getting the music right." Just as he did with his last album, Wilson took on the job of producer. "Iím sitting there in the vocal booth, looking out at Levon Helm in the drum booth, asking me, 'Is that okay with you?í" Wilson recalls with a laugh. "Thatís a dream come true."


  1. Hillybilly Homeboy (Simpson/Wilson)
  2. Chattanooga (Simpson/Wilson)
  3. Fireworks in Tennessee (Simpson/Wilson)
  4. Ringold,Georgia (Simpson/Wilson)
  5. Monteagle Cop (Simpson/Wilson)
  6. Baptists & Catholics (Simpson/Wilson)
  7. That Wuttin' a Marlboro (Simpson/Wilson)
  8. Earnhardt (Simpson/Wilson)
  9. Tide & Skittles (Simpson/Wilson)
  10. Chad Little (Simpson/Wilson)
  11. Talladega Song (Simpson/Wilson)
  12. Michael McDonald Had a Farm (Traditional)
  13. Ballard of John Rocker (Simpson/Wilson)
  14. Uncle B.S. 1865 (Simpson/Wilson)
  15. Uncle B.S. 1876 (Simpson/Wilson)
  16. Uncle B.S. 1492 (Simpson/Wilson)
  17. Learned to Ride (The Motorcycle Song) (Simpson/Wilson)
  18. Back When Country Was Ugly (Simpson/Wilson)
  19. Darryl Strokes (That Dumb Sonofa) Almost... (Simpson/Wilson)
  20. 19-Year-Old & The Go TH Hell Store (Simpson/Wilson)
  21. Living on Gas Card (Simpson/Wilson)
  22. Uncle B.S. 1647 (Wilson)
  23. Uncle B.S. 1969 (Wilson)
  24. Family Reunion (Wilson)
  25. Ballard of John Rocker (Simpson/Wilson)
  26. Relationship Humor (Simpson/Wilson)
  27. Love Songs for Losers (Simpson/Wilson)


  • Dean Daughtry - Keyboards
  • Carlton Davis - Art Direction
  • Carlos Grier - Digital Editing
  • Levon Helm - Harmonica, Mandolin, Drums
  • David Hood - Bass
  • Clayton Ivey - Piano, Organ (Hammond), Wurlitzer
  • George Lawrence - Drums
  • Steve Melton - Engineer, Mixing
  • Denny Purcell - Mastering
  • Tim Wilson - Producer
  • Danny Simpson - Associate Producer
  • Denise Jarvis - Production Assistant
  • Eric Conn - Digital Editing
  • Charles Hart Jr. - Assistant Engineer

Tim Wilson - Hillbilly Homeboy - 2000 - Capitol 25930

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