Steve Wilson (The Black Doves)

Steve Wilson (The Black Doves)

 Pensacola, Florida, USA

Presently the lead vocalist and guitarist for the modern rock band, The Black Doves, Steve Wilson began his career in coffee-houses and bars holding his own on the stage. With an incredible voice, an acoustic guitar, Wilson's stage presence has landed him gigs throughout the US and abroad.


The expected way the tale of an emerging indie pop/rock band like The Black Doves unfolds is this: founder and frontman Steve Wilson puts an ad on CraigsList in early 2008 to find an incredible ensemble that can help him complete his debut project. The San Antonio based group is so in synch so quickly that Wilson makes a cool, whimsical name change (from solo artist to The Black Doves), they do a first gig at the local club Sneakers and soon they’re playing the local stop of the Van’s Warped Tour on a bill that featured superstars like Paramore.

From there, the high energy band—whose lineup includes Brent Matthews (drums), Danny Trevino (lead guitar), Frank Rodriguez (bass) and Bruce Phillips (keys)—is invited to showcase at South By Southwest and plays venues throughout the region, including clubs in Shreveport, Louisiana, Fitzgerald’s in Houston and their “home base,” Jack’s in San Antonio. Add a critically acclaimed debut album (Moments of Clarity) to the mix and you’ve got the makings of a powerful DIY success story. Right?

Only there’s a catch—and his name is Uncle Sam. Wilson, who served in the Army (82nd Airborne Division) and Texas National Guard on the GI Bill during college, has been in the Air Force for the past ten years. He flew during the “shock and awe” first night of “Operation Iraqi Freedom” and has done missions for “Operation Enduring Freedom” in Afghanistan. He was able to find time to write and perform acoustic solo gigs while based at Barksdale AFB in Shreveport between deployments, and took a short break from his duties to fly to Spokane to record tracks that would ultimately develop into the core of Moments of Clarity. Currently a flight instructor at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida, he’s miles away from his Texas based band mates and the city where The Black Doves was born. The solitude and logistical frustration of trying to keep The Black Doves’ musical momentum going despite the distance is one of the driving forces behind the songs on the band’s new five song EP Discovering Gravity.

“All of the songs on Moments of Clarity are autobiographical, based on different experiences in my life and those around me,” says Captain Steve Wilson, who grew up a classic military brat. His father is a 27 year Air Force veteran and his mother is from England. Wilson attended the University of Wyoming for two years before enlisting under the GI Bill; he later completed his college education at the University of North Texas, where he began playing singer/songwriter acoustic shows and traveling around Texas—all the while enrolled in AFROTC.

“These recordings aren’t like those pop projects where a bunch of great writers get in a room and pen tunes about nothing they’ve actually been through. I have actually lived every word of what I write. I wrote ‘Like I Do’ for my oldest son Connor, who is eight now. It’s a prayer that while I’m away, God watches over him like I do when I’m there. I wrote ‘Ask Me To’, which evolved into a rocker but was originally an acoustic tune, at a picnic table on an island in the Indian Ocean while on a mission for Enduring Freedom. It’s an open love letter to my wife about trying to make up for all my shortcomings.

“I was very fortunate that the guys who became my band and evolved with me into The Black Doves instinctively knew how to convey these emotions and take a personal involvement in them when we play live,” he adds. “Discovering Gravity is about falling down and learning to pick yourself up, facing all the challenges of life, struggling to make things happen in the music business while working an extraordinary, time consuming ‘day job,’ and having the rug pulled out from under me when I got transferred to Pensacola. I confront a lot of my personal issues—a process which began when I wrote a lyric that captures the spirit of the project: ‘When I discovered gravity, I found the truth that set me free.’”

Although the music industry and the U.S. Government seem like very different employers with distinctive demands on Wilson’s energy and creativity, the multi-talented performer has discovered some unique ways to merge his two worlds. In 2008, he scored major accolades with two compositions in the “Songs From the Soul of Service” songwriting contest, an amateur competition that is a collaborative effort between the Dallas Songwriter Association and the Defense Department’s America Supports You program—which highlights corporate and grassroots support for U.S. service members and their families. Wilson’s “Ask Me To” took top honors in the pop/rock category and won first place in the competition overall. “Like I Do” placed third in the Inspirational Song category. More recently, The Black Doves performed at Snowball Express, a Dallas-based event for families of fallen heroes; among the bands appearing was The Lt. Dan Band, led by actor Gary Sinise, a major endorser of the event dedicated to “creating hope and new memories for the children


Discovering Gravity- The Black Doves 2011
Moments of Clarity - The Black Doves, 2008
Stripped - Steve Wilson, 2005
Intakes and Outtakes from the Funky Joint - Steve Wilson, 2004
The 16 Days E.P. - Steve Wilson, 2003

Set List

16 Days (Steve Wilson)
Perfect (Steve Wilson)
Day Turns Into Night (Steve Wilson)
Chapter (The Black Doves)
Learn to Live (The Black Doves)
If You Could Only See (Tonic)
I Wonder If She Knows (The Black Doves)
Superstar (The Black Doves)
Home (The Black Dove)
These Moments (The Black Doves)
Ask Me To (The Black Doves)
Like I Do (The Black Doves)
Forget Who I Am (Steve Wilson)
Beautiful Tragedy (The Black Doves)
Eyes Wide (The Black Doves)
Sign of the Times (Steve Wilson)
Cold Steel Rain (The Black Doves)
Discovering Gravity (The Black Doves)
Mess Of Me (The Black Doves)