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This Week In Texas Music History: Hop Wilson

wilsonArt&Seek presents This Week in Texas Music History. Every week, we’ll spotlight a different moment and the musician who made it. This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll meet a musician who loved to “steel” the blues.

You can also hear This Week in Texas Music History on Sunday at precisely 6:04 p.m. on KERA radio. But subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss an episode. And our thanks to KUT public radio in Austin for helping us bring this segment to you. And if you’re a music lover, be sure to check out Track by Track, the podcast from Paul Slavens, host of KXT’s The Paul Slavens Show, heard Sunday night’s at 8.

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“Hop” Wilson died on Aug. 27, 1975, in Houston. Born in Grapeland, Texas, in 1921, he became a popular guitarist, singer and harmonica player throughout East Texas following World War II. Wilson often collaborated with drummer Ivory Lee Semien, and in the late 1950s, the two began recording together. However, what made Hop Wilson truly unique as a bluesman was that he performed mainly on steel guitar, an instrument most often associated with country music.

Although he made no more recordings after 1961, Hop Wilson continued to perform around Houston until his death in 1975. His distinctive style had a major impact on many younger Texas guitarists, including Jimmie Vaughan and Johnny Winter.

Next time on This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll recall an artist who not only made borderlands music history, but wrote it as well.