The Sam Wheelock Story
Sam Wheelock is an authentic part of the heritage of the music of the southern Appalachians. In addition to being active in the evolution of the art form, his knowledge of the history of the music is rather pronounced from personal experiences.
THE ROOTS… Home, in my heart, is the mountains of East Tennessee. Five railroads crossed in Johnson City when the town become known as Little Chicago, boasting Al Capone’s residence. Money flowed like moonshine and benefited locals like Fiddlin’ Charlie Bowman. As a child, some of the Carter Family played in my Aunt’s front yard. So, I learned “I’ll Twine Mid The Ringlets” (I was told it was “Wildwood Flower”). There is more to the region than the snap-shot of old time music. In fact, Bluesman Blind Lemon Jefferson played on the streets. Blues in the mountains? Yep. It is where I learned Jazz as well as Rhythm n’ Blues from neighbors. Kingsport, like Knoxville, was a hot bed of great, Black musicians like Brownie and Stick McGhee (writer of the iconic “Drinkin’ Wine Spo-Dee-O”). The former teamed up with Sonny Terry to create a legendary duo. Nope, they don’t usually tell you all of the story.
I USED TO BE SHAWN WILCOX…This project began as an ensemble centered around an alter ego called Shawn Wilcox. The natural evolution phased into a singer song-writer presentation which phased into the use of my birth name, Sam Wheelock. On-line materials may use either name.
THE CREDITS…Involvement with a Grammy nominated project lead to gold and silver advertising awards, music at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Cox Communications, ABC Productions, contributions to TV shows like “Baywatch”, movie credits such as “The Adams Family” as well as the Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriquez film “From Dusk Till Dawn”. There were kind words from a record company executive, “You are the most soulful guitarist I’ve heard”. But the story he did not know is it cannot be otherwise, if you’re the grandson of a moonshiner.