James Calvin Wilsey died on Christmas Eve this year of a heart attack. He was 61 years old.
Originally the bass player for San Francisco Bay Area punk band The Avengers, Wilsey was best-known as the lead guitar player on the first three (and best) Chris Isaak records. His beautiful modern/retro tones and tasteful playing gave Isaak's heartbreak songs depth and mystery.
Wilsey's playing inspired me to return to the Fender Stratocaster in the late 80s, and remained a touchstone for elegant, restrained playing. I was lucky enough to see him play live with Chris Isaak in 1991. A rare talent and the real deal.
Thank you for the music and the inspiration, Mr. Wilsey.
"Kings of the Highway"
and of course, "Wicked Game"