The son of late blues and gospel great Robert Wilkins, North Mississippi's Reverend John Wilkins has continued his father's blend of country-blues and gospel, layering it with a more modern, electric hill-country blues sound. He introduced his sound to the wider world with his terrific 2011 album You Can't Hurry God, which came across as the Sunday morning answer to the Saturday nights of late hill-country masters Junior Kimbrough and R.L. Burnside. "Don't let the hearse be the first thing to take you to church," Wilkins pleads on an album that features soulful, spirited reworkings of blues and gospel standards such as "You Gotta Move," "Let the Redeemed Say So," and the elder Wilkins' trademark "Prodigal Son."
Wilkins played an afternoon set at last year's Gonerfest and will keep similar company this week when he opens for Jack O & the Tennessee Tearjerkers at the Hi-Tone Café on Saturday, April 7th. (For more on Jack O-related activity, see the Music Feature, page 24 of this week's issue.) Showtime is 9 p.m. Admission is $8.