Christy McWilson playing with Dynette Set at The Tractor in Ballard, Seattle, Washington, on December 23, 2015
|Birth name||Christy Wilson|
|Associated acts||Dynette Set|
The Young Fresh Fellows
Christy McWilson is an American singer-songwriter based in the Pacific Northwest. She has performed with the Dynette Set, the Picketts, as a solo artist, and with many other artists, including Dave Alvin and The Young Fresh Fellows.
McWilson says: "I was close enough to Bakersfield to drive up and hear Merle Haggard once or twice, and was definitely, utterly, completely influenced by the Los Angeles sound of the 70s: Stone Poneys, Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris, and Poco."
McWilson first recorded in the early 1980s as a singer with the Dynette Set, releasing an album and a few singles and compilation tracks in the first half of that decade, including "Seed of Love," a standout on the 1984 Rhino female-focused new wave compilation The Girls Can't Help It. That song was co-written and produced by Scott McCaughey who was a member of the Young Fresh Fellows.
After the demise of the Dynette Set, McWilson played around Seattle in some short-lived groups while adding backing to various albums by the Young Fresh Fellows. The Fellows' college radio hit "Amy Grant" particularly benefited from McWilson's sassy vocals.
In 1990, McWilson helped form the Picketts (originally known as the Power Mowers) who released three albums over the course of the 1990s. Led by McWilson on vocals, the band also included drummer Leroy "Blackie" Sleep and guitarists Scott McCaughey, John Olufs, and Jim Sangster. Steve Marcus was the original bassist (later Walt Singleman played bass).
The Picketts' first recording was a 7" single for the Seattle indie PopLlama Records that featured a country version of The Clash's "Should I Stay or Should I Go." Rather than play straight-ahead country, the Picketts mixed '50s rockabilly and pop with more traditional influences, such as Wanda Jackson or Merle Haggard.
Paper Doll, their debut full-length, was released in 1992 through PopLlama. A showcase at the influential Austin music festival South by Southwest led to a deal with Rounder Records, who released The Wicked Picketts in 1995. Euphonium followed on Rounder in 1996.
The Picketts eventually disbanded, but occasionally perform reunion shows.
As the Picketts were disbanding (more out of sloth than acrimony), longtime fan Dave Alvin approached McWilson with an offer to produce her first solo album, The Lucky One, which contains mostly original songs (many concerning her lifelong struggle with a bipolar disorder) plus a cover of Brian Wilson's "Til I Die." The Lucky One was recorded with a core band that included Alvin, Peter Buck, and Rick Shea (guitars), Bob Glaub, Walter Singleman (bass), and Don Heffington (drums). The album also featured guest appearances by Syd Straw, Rhett Miller (Old 97's), and Mike Mills (R.E.M.).
In spring of 2015, McWilson decided to release her "old new" album Desperate Girl, which was recorded in 2004 as her marriage dissolved. As she put it: "The songs, written in the weeks leading up to and during the marriage's demise, were recorded in their full red-hot splendor. At the time it was so painful I shelved and tried to forget about it. I recently rediscovered it and realized I had an amazing portrait of that heightened time of my life."
McWilson's most recent recording is Six by Three, with the West Seattle 2 (drummer Blackie Sleep and bassist Walt Singleman).
McWilson and singer-songwriter Scott McCaughey (The Young Fresh Fellows, The Minus 5) met at San Francisco State University and moved to Seattle in 1980, eventually marrying and having a child together. The couple are no longer married.
McWilson said she prefixed her birth surname, Wilson, with "Mc" to create her stage name, McWilson.
|1983||Rockers and Recliners||Wolf Records WR-8310||Vinyl||Jim Wolfe|
|1992||Paper Doll||Popllama PLCC68||CD, vinyl||Conrad Uno |
|1995||The Wicked Picketts||Rounder CD 9046||CD, vinyl||Conrad Uno|
|1996||Euphonium||Rounder CD 9056||CD, vinyl||Steve Berlin|
|1990||The Picketts||Popllama PL7-34||Single||A1) Should I Stay or Should I Go? |
B1) Walkin' Talkin' Jukebox
B2) Fallin' for You
|1994||Pick It !!||Cruddy CR-07||EP||A1) Sukiyaki |
A2) Stella Stomp
B1) Party Hat
B2) Remington Ride
|1996||Baba O'Riley||Rounder CD PR 1074||CD single||A1) Baba o'Riley|
|2000||The Lucky One||Hightone HCD 8119||CD, vinyl||Dave Alvin|
|2002||Bed of Roses||Hightone HCD8143||CD, vinyl||Dave Alvin|
|2015||Desperate Girl||Sally Ann Records||CD||Kurt Bloch|
Dave Alvin and Guilty Women
|2005||Dave Alvin and the Guilty Women||Yep Roc YEP 2155||CD, vinyl||Dave Alvin|
|2009||Martini's Mansion||No label||CDR||Jim Sangster, John Sangster|
The West Seattle 2
|2016||Six by Three||Sally Ann Records||CD||John Sangster|
|2013||Jasper T||The Sweet Dark, Pt. 1||N/A||Track 4, "Long for You"|
|2011||Maggie Björklund||Coming Home||Bloodshot BS 174||Composer, lyricist|
|2011||Dave Alvin||Eleven Eleven||Yep Rock YEP 2246||Piano & vocals on |
track 9, "Manzanita"
|2010||Various Artists||Through a Faraway Window:
A Tribute to Jimmy Silva
|SteadyBoy SB-0030||Track 9, "Man of the Cloth"|
|2010||Various Artists||Mississippi Sheiks Tribute
Concert: Live Vancouver
|Black Hen BHCD 0066||Duet with Dave Alvin on |
track 13, "Who's Been Here"
|2009||Michael Shuler||Edge of the World||Brave Feet BF 12||Vocals|
|2009||Various Artists||It Crawled from the Basement:
Green Monkey Records Anthology
|2007||Jesse Sykes||Like, Love, Lust and the
Open Halls of the Soul
|Barsuk BARK-62||Background Vocals|
|2006||Mudhoney||Under a Billion Suns||Sub Pop SP 700||Vocals|
|2006||Dave Alvin||West of the West||Yep Roc YEP 2118||Vocals|
|2005||Rick Shea||Bound for Trouble||Tres Pescadores 6||Vocals, duet|
|2005||Various Artists||Lowe Profile: A Tribute
to Nick Lowe
|Brewery 0942||Duet with Rick Shea on |
track 11, "Never Been in Love"
|2004||Various Artists||This One's for the Fellows||BlueDisguise 6||Duet with John Ramberg on |
track 10, "Celebration"
|2003||Minus 5||Down with Wilco||Yep Roc 2052||Guest artist|
|2003||The Minus 5||I Don't Know Who I Am (Let the War
Against Music Begin, Vol. 2)
|Return To Sender 43||Musician|
|2003||Model Rockets||Pilot County Suite||Book Records 6||Assistant|
|2002||Various Artists||This Is Where I Belong: The Songs
Of Ray Davies & The Kinks
|Rykodisc VACK 1232||With The Minus 5 on |
track 12, "Get Back in Line"
|1998||The Squirrels||Scrapin' for Hits||Popllama 81296||Vocals|
|1997||The Minus 5||The Lonesome Death of Buck McCoy||Hollywood HT-62115-2||Performer|
|1996||Various Artists||Bite Back: Live at the
|Popllama 2200||Vocals, composer|
|1994||The Squirrels||Harsh Toke of Reality||Popllama 91293||Background vocals|
|1994||Various Artists||Love Is My Only Crime: Part 2||Veracity IRS CD 973.402||With the Picketts on |
track 2, "Ring or a Prayer"
|1994||Larry Barrett||Beyond The Mississippi||GlitterhouseGRCD 342||Vocals on track 2 "Like A Ring" |
and track 4, "Take My Troubles Back"
|1991||Fastbacks||Never Fails, Never Works||Blaster! BLATLP3||Background vocals|
|1990||The Squirrels||What Gives?||Popllama 2523||Background vocals|
|1985||The Young Fresh Fellows||Fabulous Sounds of the
|East Side Digital||Vocals|
|1989||Scott McCaughey||My Chartreuse Opinion||East Side Digital 80382||Vocals, harmonies|
|1989||The Young Fresh Fellows||This One's for the Ladies||Frontier FRO 31034CD||Background vocals|
|1987||The Young Fresh Fellows||The Men Who Loved Music||Frontier 4611-2-L13||Vocals|
|1985||The Young Fresh Fellows||Fabulous Sounds of the
|East Side Digital||Vocals|
|1984||The Young Fresh Fellows||Topsy Turvy||East Side Digital||Vocals|
|1984||Various Artists||The Girls Can't Help It –
A Modern Girl Group Compilation
|Rhino RNLP 024||With the Dynette Set on |
Track 6, "Seed of Love"
|1983||Various Artists||Seattle Syndrome Two||EngramENG 012||With the Dynette Set on |
track 4, "Tell Me What You Want"
- MacDonald, Patrick (March 24, 2002). "Seattle alt.country singer enters new phase". The Seattle Times. Retrieved September 9, 2016.
- Alden, Grant (February 28, 2002). "Christy McWilson – The other side of midnight". No Depression (38). Retrieved September 9, 2016.
- Berry, Steve; McWilson, Christy (September 4, 2016). "Interview with Christy McWilson, September 4, 2016" (Interview).
- Mason, Stuart. "Christy McWilson – Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved September 9, 2016.
- Loftus, Johnny. "The Picketts Bio -The Picketts Career". Rovi via CMT. Retrieved September 9, 2016.
- Archive (August 31, 1995). "The Picketts – Grungetown grass grows grangy on the Picketts side of the fence". No Depression. Retrieved September 9, 2016.
- Richman, Shira (September 23, 2009). "Christy McWilson: What Dudes Won't Tell". PopMatters. Retrieved September 9, 2016.
- Toombs, Mikel (June 23, 2000). "Lucky Christy McWilson Kicks Off Seattle Extravaganza". MTV. Retrieved September 9, 2016.
- Stout, Gene (March 28, 2002). "Recording's a 'Bed of Roses' with Alvin at McWilson's side". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved September 9, 2016.
- McClain, Buzz (March 20, 2002). "McWilson's 'Bed of Roses': An Artist in Full Bloom". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 9, 2016.
- Alden, Grant (June 3, 2009). "A quick appreciation of Christy McWilson". No Depression. Retrieved September 9, 2016.
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