Christy McWilson and the West Seattle 2 - Anacortes Magazine - Art, Music, and Community


Christy McWilson and the West Seattle 2

Christy McWilson

Christy was born into a family of musicians, spending her formative years near Downey, California. “I was close enough to Bakersfield to drive up and hear Merle Haggard once or twice, and was definitely, utterly, completely influenced by the LA sound of the 70s: Stone Poneys, Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris, and Poco.”


In 1990, Christy helped form the Picketts, who released three albums over the course of the 1990s. Led by McWilson on vocals, the band also included drummer Leroy “Blackie” Sleep and guitarists Scott McCaughey, John Olufs, and Jim Sangster. Steve Marcus was the original bassist (later Walt Singleman played bass).

The Picketts’ first recording was a 7″ single for the Seattle indie PopLlama Records that featured a country version of The Clash’s “Should I Stay or Should I Go”. Rather than play straight-ahead country, the Picketts mixed 1950s rockabilly and pop with more traditional influences, such as Wanda Jackson or Merle Haggard.

Paper Doll, their debut full-length, was released in 1992 through PopLlama. A showcase at the influential Austin music festival South by Southwest led to a deal with Rounder Records, who released The Wicked Picketts in 1995. Euphonium followed on Rounder in 1996.

Solo work

As the Picketts were disbanding, longtime fan Dave Alvin approached Christy with an offer to produce her first solo album, The Lucky One, which contains mostly original songs, plus a cover of Brian Wilson’s “Til I Die”. The Lucky One was recorded with a core band that included Alvin, Peter Buck, and Rick Shea (guitars), Bob Glaub, Walter Singleman (bass), and Don Heffington (drums). Two years later, she called on many of these musicians to help put together her second solo album, Bed of Roses.

In 2015, Christy decided to release her “old new” album Desperate Girl, which was recorded in 2004 as her marriage dissolved. As she put it: “The songs, written in the weeks leading up to and during the marriage’s demise, were recorded in their full red-hot splendor. At the time it was so painful I shelved and tried to forget about it. I recently rediscovered it and realized I had an amazing portrait of that heightened time of my life.”

Current projects

Christy’s most recent recording is Six by Three, with her current band The West Seattle 2: drummer Blackie Sleep, bassist Walt Singleman, and guitarist Mark Notermann.

She also regularly participates in the annual Roots on the Rails tour with Dave Alvin, John Doe, Cindy Cashdollar, Rick Shea, Cindy Lee Berryhill, Peter Case, Phil Alvin, Jon Langford, among others.

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