Song:  “Yard Dog” from Mississippi Moderne

Songwriter: L. Miller


WEBB WILDER Web-Exclusive Interview

with M Music & Musicians magazine publisher, Merlin David


Webb Wilder (born John Webb McMurry over 60 years ago) has forged a path to his own brand of music. He’s a blues/rock ’n roll singer, guitarist and actor, with that amazing radio voice. When you talk with him, you are hoping he’ll let you know what prize you’ve won for being the 11th caller.


By the early 80s, Wilder was in several rock bands, including Hattiesburg’s the Power of the Steam and the Drapes. He and partner in crime Bobby Field read Raymond Chandler novels and watched The Andy Griffith Show and hooked up with Steve Mims, an Austin college filmmaker, to create a short film about a backwoods private detective who fell out of the 1950s and happened to be a musician: Webb Wilder, Private Eye. The film launched Wilder’s music career and his early band, the Beatnecks. It aired on late-night cable networks A&E and USA. You can still catch it on YouTube.


His latest album, Mississippi Moderne (he says, pronounce it however you like) delivers “Yard Dog,” an obscure song that Biloxi garage rock band The One Way Street recorded in 1966. He also covers Charlie Rich’s “Who Will the Next Fool Be?,” Conway Twitty’s “Lonely Blue Boy,” Frankie Lee Simms’ “Lucy Mae Blues” and Otis Rush’s “It Takes Time”—all dunked in deep blues and performed with a crew of cohorts that have been delivering Wilder music for years: bassist Tom Comet, drummer Jimmy Lester, guitarists Bob Williams, Joe V. McMahan and George Bradfute. Wilder wrote “Only a Fool” with Dan Penn, and he and John Hadley reached back to Mississippi roots to pen “Too Much Sugar for a Nickel,” a phrase Webb heard from his mother.


With his groups the Drapes, the Beatnecks, the Nashvegans, Wilder mixed rock & roll with Ventures style surf guitar and Duane Eddy twang. To hear some of his biting humor, check out his video “Human Cannonball” on YouTube. Wilder spoke with us from NashVegas about his unique brand of music and his innovative approach to writing and performing.


How did you choose “Yard Dog” for Mississippi Moderne?

Well, it is a cover of a very old, very obscure song originally by a little known Mississippi band that I remember hearing on the radio when I was a kid. They were called The One Way Street.


You’ve chosen this cover here, but what is your creative process for your own songwriting?

No set process. Ideas come in unguarded moments which must be recorded or written down lest they be forgotten.


What songwriting tip would you like to offer?

Realize that your subconscious offers up all sorts of creative info but it is up to you to let it come through and to somehow remember it—it’s better if you record it before you forget it.


Top 5 Musicians or Songwriters who inspired you?

Hank Williams, Sam Cooke, B. B. King, the Band, the Beatles—and so many more.
Which instruments or equipment can you not live without—that help you write/record/perform.

I don’t know. I have certainly used my 50-watt Hiwatt head a lot since 1986 although not so much lately. I have a bunch of guitars but gravitate to a few which are always some type, variation or derivative of Fenders and Gibsons. I did go through a Gretsch phase, and I’m enjoying my Swope GTO. It seems like all my guitar playing friends and I have guitars we don’t play much, but that doesn’t keep us from wanting more. (Laughs) I am pretty addicted to having a tuner on my pedal board.


What previous albums should a new fan listen to—to give them perspective on their new Webb Wilder journey?

As far as my catalog? Wow. Probably the first album, It Came From Nashville which was first released 30 years ago this year, and Doo Dad which was more of the pinnacle of our “radio friendly (or not) Classic Rock” kind of phase. Town and Country was a very eclectic all-cover album. There are others, of course, and they all play a part in the journey.


How does where you live geographically (Nashville/Mississippi) or touring (Europe) influence your music?

Well, I think place and time influence me. Can’t speak for others, but I am and always have been a Southerner. Having said that, I am an American, a baby boomer, a guy born and raised in the 20th Century who was totally influenced by all the stuff happening in the national media—like the Beatles, Elvis, movies, cultural trends, fashions, while absorbing so much of the Afro-Celtic culture of the Deep South.



What are your Top 5 favorite albums?

Impossible really, but …

The Band (1969) – The Band

Mr. Tambourine Man (1965) – The Byrds

Sing Great Country Hits (1963) – The Everly Brothers

Rubber Soul (1965) – The Beatles (the American version)

No Dice (1970) – Badfinger


What’s next for you? New album? Touring?

It seems like these days you need a new album every fifteen minutes and it’s harder and harder to figure out where to find recording budgets. I hope to find a way to put out some worthy heretofore unreleased stuff while I continue to write and scheme toward the next “all new” release. Touring is ongoing. Been playing live for what? 30 years? 40? 45? So, that is a given.


What is the best way for new fans to stay updated? Listen to me carefully now. Go to, and get on the email list. Also, “Like” the Facebook page that is linked to


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