Whether he's singing about a NASCAR driver's sexual orientation or doing commercials for Big O Tires, Tim Wilson can't be mistaken for someone else. The Georgia native's distinctive baritone twang has an edge of roughness -- like most of his comedy material.
Wilson's comic commentary covers subjects such as blind dates, cell phones and annoying relatives. Topics such as sex, politics and religion are not only addressed, they are dissected with a meticulous eye for detail and a somewhat-skewed worldview. You can hear for yourself over the next three weeks when he plays the Comedy Caravan in Mid City Mall.
"My cousin told me a long time ago that I'm funniest when I'm mad," Wilson said in a phone interview earlier this week. "I'm meaner than the Blue Collar Comedy guys, and I have more opinions. I like to find someone in the audience who is young enough to be my kid or my niece and explain to them how America is really supposed to be."
Wilson is best known for such ditties as "The Jeff Gordon Song," "Trailer Love" and "First Baptist Bar & Grill," which he refers to as "my Freebird." Since inking a deal with Capitol Records in 1998, he's released more than a half-dozen albums, including "The Real Twang Thang," "I Should've Married My Father-in-Law" and "Hillbilly Homeboy." His latest CD, "Church League Softball Fist Fight," was released in November.
Wilson's renegade reputation is well-known in the entertainment industry.
"I'm sort of like a science experiment for Capitol Records," he said, laughing. "The Capitol people know I'm a little weird, but they also know that they don't have to spend a lot of time marketing my stuff because I have some very loyal fans and a good track record of being able to promote myself on the radio. My songs, or at least the cleaner ones, are radio-friendly."
Along with being a longtime regular guest on nationally syndicated radio programs such as "The Bob & Tom Show" and "John Boy & Billy," Wilson also has some impressive TV credits, including appearances on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno," "Evening at the Improv" and "Grace Under Fire." His hectic tour schedule takes him to comedy clubs and concert halls across the country.
Wilson's career began as a "serious" recording artist in the '80s. As a studio musician, he recorded a round of demos with Roy Yeager of the Atlanta Rhythm Section. His path in life changed, Wilson says, thanks to a fateful appearance at an open mike night at an Atlanta comedy club.
Following a stint living in New York City, Wilson returned to his Southern roots. For the past decade or so, he's been living in Nashville. But recently he decided to make Louisville his second home. He now splits his time between Nashville and his "cool new place in the Highlands."
Wilson said there were several factors behind his decision to spend more time in Louisville. For more than two decades, he's worked closely with Comedy Caravan owner Tom Sobel, who also books comedians for gigs nationwide. Louisville's central location is convenient for traveling to clubs throughout the region, Wilson said.
Another motive for his move, Wilson said, is the friendly atmosphere of the Highlands.
"I like being the old guy in the cowboy hat who is hanging out with the blue-haired kids at the Highlands Tap Room."
This is the 15th year Wilson has performed at Comedy Caravan during Derby time. Instead of his usual one-week stint, he'll perform this year for three weeks.
"His Derby shows are so popular each year and usually all sold-out, so we wanted to give more fans a chance to see him this year," Sobel said.
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