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Webb Wilder

Webb Wilder returns to The Old Feed Store in Cobden March 2.

Every time an artist goes into the studio to create a new album, they accumulate way too much material. They will record twice as many songs as they need for a project, and through some mystical administrative process, only the best 10 to 12 tunes make the final cut.

Webb Wilder has recorded nine albums over a musical career that has spanned more than three decades. During this colorful period, a plethora of highly regarded compositions have wound up on the cutting room floor.

The best of those long-lost gems have been resurrected for Wilder's highly anticipated new album, “Powerful Stuff,” scheduled for released in late April or early May.

Wilder will be showcasing the fresh patch of recycled songs with a full band at The Old Feed Store in Cobden at 8 p.m. on March 2. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online at Brown Paper Tickets.

For more information, call 618-614-2251.

“This is hardcore, old previously unreleased stuff. Songs that may have been recorded at a sound check or studio songs that never made an album. We finally found a place where they all fit,” Wilder says.

The title cut of “Powerful Stuff” is a cover of the 1988 Fabulous Thunderbirds hit that topped the charts for four weeks and appeared on the “Cocktail” movie soundtrack. Webb put his personal stamp on the tune, performing it with his unique, soulful, swamp-adelic style.

Cover art for the project was an obscure 30-year-old photograph of Wilder, lifted from a French magazine.

“The folks at Landslide Records picked the title and I reluctantly agreed,” Wilder says. “I wanted to call it 'Lost In The Shuffle,' because these are great songs that somehow ended up collecting dust on a backroom shelf.”

The show in Cobden will be his first time back on stage since major emergency surgery last month to remove his left kidney. After a brief series of tests, doctors decided the malfunctioning organ had to be removed immediately.

Wilder said he was cleared to perform just three weeks after the unexpected procedure.

“The things they can do with robotics in the medical field is amazing,” Wilder says.

Wilder is the host of the weekly radio program “The List,” which promotes the Top 40 albums of the week from the Americana chart.

This past fall, Wilder traveled all over Europe as part of The Three Aces Tour with Warner Hodges of Jason & The Scorchers and Eric Ambel, a former musician for both Steve Earle and Joan Jett.

Starting with “It Came from Nashville” on vinyl and cassette tape in 1986, Wilder has released nine studio albums. The first, “It Came from Nashville,” and his most recent, “Mississippi Moderne,” were on Landslide Records. Two albums out of print for a long time, “Town and Country” and “Acres of Suede,” are now available online and at live performance, re-released on New West Records.

The 63-year-old Wilder is a native of Hattiesburg, Mississippi. He grew up listening to local radio station WXXX, which played a steady diet of The Beatles and Rolling Stones, mixed with Motown classics.

His mother kicked started his musical dream, buying him a $17.50 plywood Silvertone guitar from the Sears catalog when he was in the sixth grade. Seeking an upgrade, a couple years later, he petitioned his dad for an electric rig.

“My dad ran a furniture store. Bless his heart, he just wasn't very musically inclined. When I ask him for an electric guitar, he said, 'Why? You can't even play a manual one yet,'” he recalled with a sly chuckle as he sifted through childhood memories.

During the telephone interview from the basement of his Nashville home, Wilder said he was looking at the first amp he ever owned, purchased more than 50 years ago.

From those early days, his eclectic style would emerge. It was an early form of Americana smashing into the British invasion, with a healthy dose of bluesy punch surf guitar and Duane Edy twang vocals.

Born John Webb McMurry, Wilder blazed his own trail to stardom.

It started when hometown friend Bobby Field, a teacher at the University of Southern Mississippi, recommended him for the role of Webb Wilder, a private detective with musical skills, in a film one of his students was making for a class project.

Steve Mims successfully shopped his movie, “The Saucer's Reign,” to the USA cable network, which turned it into a late night mini-series that developed a cult following among college students.

With a trademark hat and commanding personality, Wilder was transformed into a real life character and made a seamless transition from the acting stage to the musical stage, where he has developed a loyal legion of fans with tunes like “Human Cannonball,” “Poolside” and “Baby Please Don't Go.”

VINCE HOFFARD can be reached at 618-658-9095 or vincehoffard@gmail.com.

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