Paul Wilson

2009 - Individual Artist

Paul Wilson began his guitar public performance career in a Franklin Junior High School Hootenany. Some of the musicians in that performance went on to become members of Wilson’s first real band, The Castlegate Singers. Ron Sorenson and Paul started the group in 1964 and they remained together until 1968.

A popular folk group, the Singers made appearances all over Iowa and often performed live on KFMG Radio. They also played the Don Warren teen program on WHO TV and on the Gordon Gammack Show on KRNT – TV.

With music tastes changing to West Coast rock and roll, Ron and Paul started a group called the Emergency Broadcast System (EBS). They were joined by drummer Joe Eberline (now a member of the national Rock and Roll Hall of Fame) and guitarist Phil Stefans. They were a power band with two singers. Kathy Dahl and Phil sang lead with Ron doing the backup vocals. Ron was the voice of KFMG Radio through many years. EBS was together from 1968-1970.

For Wilson the next band to become a part of was Tommy Tucker’s Federal Reserve. “I was hired to play lead guitar. The band was renamed Salt River and became the best band yet,” Wilson recalls.

Salt River (with brothers Rick and Mike Condon, Steve Way on drums, Hall of Fame guitarist Jerry Wright, Tucker and Wilson) opened for such major acts as Ted Nuggent and the Amboy Dukes, The Crying Shames, Chase and many others. Salt River never had an open weekend with Tucker keeping them booked for the life of the band. They played proms all over Iowa and KIOA Radio kept them busy with shared promotions such as the School’s Out Parties at River View Park . They recorded national releases with Chess Cadet Records. The group disbanded in 1973. Tucker went on to be head of studio for Prince.

Wilson turned from band performance to teaching guitar full time and founded Ye Olde Guitar Shoppe in Urbandale . He changed his attention to classical guitar and attended the U.S.C. Segovia masters classes in 1981 and 1986. He was one of a three-man team to select guitars for Segovia during his annual concert trip to Chicago . Also in that trio was renowned classical guitarist Christopher Parkening. Wilson studied with Chris for many years and helped edit his method book for guitar.

Wilson ’s students have received many Grammy nominations and several have won. One band recently received an MTV award. Eight of his students have earned Masters Degrees and two have earned PhD’s in guitar. They now teach or head departments at Simpson College, Drake University, State U. and Harriett U. Other students are teaching assistants at the U. of Georgia – Athens and Georgia State among others. Most recently he has been teaching former Iowa First Lady Christy Vilsack and Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie to play the guitar. He has contributed to the design of Washburn, Dean, Aria and other guitars.

Wilson’s most satisfying performances have been with Peter Nero and the Des Moines Metro Opera Orchestra, the Des Moines Community Orchestra and writing and performing ad campaign music for Ford Motor Company and other businesses.

His number one fan is wife Janet who has attended nearly every engagement Paul Wilson has played since 1968; in a Hall of Fame worthy career. Paul joins the Class of 2009 as an individual performer of the highest caliber.

The Iowa Rock 'n Roll Music Association Hall of Fame & Museum exists to preserve the legacy of rock and roll music in Iowa by honoring achievements, educating youth and inspiring artists. Established in 1997, we are a501(c)(3) non-profit statewide organization with many areas of service.

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