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About J.D. Wilkes

Best known as the frontman for the wild neo-rockabilly combo the Legendary Shack Shakers, J.D. Wilkes has stepped outside of the band to pursue extracurricular musical activities, books, and visual arts projects. Born in Baytown, Texas on April 18, 1972, Wilkes grew up in Paducah, Kentucky. He attended Murray State University, earning a bachelor's degree in studio art from the university. While in Murray, he formed the Legendary Shack Shakers, the neo-rockabilly band that became his primary musical outlet.

The Legendary Shack Shakers released their first album, J.D.'s Tasteless Chill Tonic, on Conan Records in 1996, changing their billing to Those Legendary Shack Shakers for 1998's Hunkerdown. The group settled into a groove with Cockadoodledon't, a 2003 album for Bloodshot that also saw them adopting the name the Legendary Shack Shakers. The band moved to Yep Roc in 2004 and kept working steadily through the decade, while Wilkes pursued visual art -- including the Head Cheese comic strip for Nashville Rage (Metromix) -- in the meantime. He also made a documentary film called Seven Signs in 2006.

Wilkes formed the Dirt Daubers with his wife Jessica in 2009, and he ran the band concurrently with the Legendary Shack Shakers. In 2013, Wilkes published the book Barn Dances and Jamborees Across Kentucky; his novel The Vine That Ate the South appeared in 2017. In 2018, J.D. Wilkes released his first solo album, Fire Dream, on Fat Possum Records. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine