Artist Feature: Norman Wilson

Hey Y’all! It’s beautiful driving weather. God is so good to us! He always knows exactly what we need and when we need it. We are so blessed to have such a wonderful Savior! This month’s article is about a well known and much loved gentleman in gospel music. Most will recognize him as part of the popular bluegrass gospel group The Primitive Quartet. But to me he’s not only an encouragement and role model, he’s my buddy Norman Wilson.


Norman’s start in music came from his family background in country churches. His father was as he describes an old preacher man who loved to sing and loved good singing. So much to the fact that he would organize the singing schools and Norman was always a part of them all of his young life. His grandfather was the one who got Norman to picking the instruments. Norman first started with his family’s group, The Wilson Family, but went on to play and sing with The Happy Travelers Quartet, The Williams Trio, and The Cavaliers. When I asked Norman when he decided or knew that music was going to be his living he quickly answered, “It’s a God thing”. And shared that The Primitive Quartet started traveling with The Inspirations and there sales was enough for them to live on. We all associate Norman with his great mandolin playing with The Primitive Quartet but there’s more that he can do. He also plays guitar, which he played with all of the other groups he had been with, and fiddle. The beautiful mandolin that we always see him playing is a custom built instrument by Bryan England. Norman is the proud owner of several England mandolins and guitars. Naming one’s favorite vocalists and musicians is a difficult thing to do. There are always at least a few artist that you really like aspects of what they do so to name only one or two is a task. Norman narrowed his vocalist choices down to Don Williams for male and for female he names Connie Smith. Roy Clark and John Paul Conseiar as his favorite musicians. He spends his time listening to the old time mountain music describing it as old fashioned convention style singing with acoustic music. “How Tedious and Tasteless” he rapidly responded as his favorite song.

Norman and the guys (Primitive Quartet) are not without there share of recognition for what they do. Front Porch Fellowship, the bluegrass gospel awards at NQC, has honored them with multiple Group of the Year and Band of the Year awards. As always, I believe that these awards of recognition are a blessing from the Lord and fans way of showing there appreciation for the artists that give of themselves and follow God’s path and doing His work. Norman feels that music is his way of helping his fellow man. He truly believes that it’s our job as Christians to uplift on another. The saint and the sinner, the young and the old.

I am always anxious to hear what seasoned veterans such as Norman Wilson have to say about the future of gospel music. Having seen styles and sounds change and grow and some fade out, I believe that there insight can be invaluable. Norman didn’t hesitate in his answer either. He believes that the future is bright for gospel music. One thing that he sees as troubling is the fact that there doesn’t seem to be a place for young musicians in gospel music. “I believe that we need to go back and make a place for these young pickers in gospel music. There are so many out there who want to be a part of this ministry. And I would love to see that change.”

I hope that y’all will go out and see Norman and the guys when they are close to you. I’ve certainly enjoyed all of my time with him through the years. He is a true friend and man of God. To all of you fathers out there reading this I’d like to say “Happy Fathers Day!” And to all of you out there that still have your dads with you, take the time and go see your dad and spend some quality time together. We never know when the one we think will always be here and would never leave will get called home. Remember that this life is full of ups and downs, highs and lows but with the Lord guiding us we will make it through on the winning side.

Check in next month to see who’s gonna be next!

~

Lorie Watkins
The Watkins Family
www.watkinsfamilymusic.com
watkinsfamily77@yahoo.com