In Austin, Texas, a city known for it's great guitarists Van Wilks has long been lauded as one of the city's master players.
His talents as a guitarist and band leader have won him consistent critical praise and a string of honors that was capped when he was voted by Austin music fans into the Austin Chronicle's "Texas Music Hall of Fame" alongside the state's most legendary musical talents.
In his third decade as a veteran of the world-famous Austin music scene, Van Wilks "continues to make some of the city's hottest guitar rock.", says the Austin Chronicle, creating music that brings his blues roots to the cutting edge with funk, hard-rock and melodic undertones. His compelling, hard-edged, bluesy rock prompted England's tastemaking "Kerrang!" to name Van Wilks' Mercury Records release "Bombay Tears" as "one of my all time faves," declaring it "a masterpiece."
His band, also known as Van Wilks, has topped music polls by the Austin Sun (Band of the Year), the Austin Chronicle (Best Hard-Rock Band four years in a row) and KLBJ-FM(Best Austin Band). Austin's Mayor has proclaimed November 6 as "Van Wilks Day" and the Texas Legislature presented him with the Texas flag and a plaque honoring his musical contributions to the State. The French magazine "Guitarist" has placed Van's records in the editor's top picks two years running.
Declared "a perfect cross between Jimi Hendrix and Van Halen" by the Austin-American Statesman, Van Wilks has toured nationally and internationally with such acts as ZZ Top (whose Billy Gibbons is one of Van's biggest supporters) and torn the roof off nightclubs and concert halls from Lubbock, Texas , the Virgin Islands, Moscow, Paris, Madrid, and countless points all over Europe. As the Houston Chronicle noted of one show: "By the end of the night we were all so delirious we wouldn't let them go until they came out for several post-closing-time encores".
The four song E.P. "Boystown" prompted the Austin-American Statesman to proclaim the song a classic and with the release of "Soul of a Man" Van Wilks' scorching blues-rock upped the anty.
"Koko's Hideaway" received the highest rating in the Stockholm daily by critic Magnus Eriksson and "Texas Jukin"again showcased both taste and raw power with an English writer proclaiming: that Van "does things to his Gibson guitar that deserves an X-certificate!" "Running From Ghosts" is an eclectic powerhouse displaying a mastery of tone fused with soulful vocals. Another gem in Van's discography is the rare duet with Eric Johnson of the classic "What Child Is This", available on the Texas Christmas Collection cd.
As Variety observes, "Van Wilks has a keen ear for '60's psychedelic-cum-British blues, which forms the foundation for his refreshing originals." At a time when the blues and its variations are more popular than ever, Van Wilks is poised to take his music beyond cult and critical acclaim here and in Europe. Mixing his fiery fretwork with searing slide and the soaring melodicism of his acoustic 12-string Van Wilks is blessed by what Kerrang! praises as true "originality" from "a unique artist". Or in simpler terms, as Jim Beal of the San Antonio Express-News declares: "He sure can play Rock 'n' Roll!"