Mountain Sam Wheelock is an authentic part of the heritage of the music and subculture of the southern Appalachians. His knowledge of the region's music runs deep. The grandson of a convicted moonshiner, Sam's first hand knowledge of his people makes him a treasure. The sound of his Tennessee whiskey soaked voice resonates sorrow and joy in every note, in every story. That's what connects all of us.
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 100 year old 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.
SHAWN WILCOX TO MOUNTAIN SAM…This project began as an alter ego called Shawn Wilcox. The evolution phased into a singer song-writer presentation and then to the one man show "A Story and a Song".
CREDITS… featured performer on "Song of the Mountains" which aired on 190 PBS television affiliates. Involvement with a Grammy nominated project, gold and silver advertising awards for Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Cox Communications and Auto Trader, 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”. It's a high complement for the grandson of a moonshiner.