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Victor Lawton Wainwright, Jr. (born February 4, 1981)[5] is an American blues and boogie-woogie[6] singer, songwriter, and pianist. Wainwright's musical style was described by the American Blues Scene magazine in 2013 as "honky-tonk and boogie, with a dose of rolling thunder. Wainwright's playing is simply beautiful madness."[7]

Living Blues magazine noted that "Wainwright serves as an electrifying guide to a good time – spinning tales, telling his listeners how to beat the blues, and meticulously conjuring raw soul and energy out of his acoustic piano."[8]

Wainwright currently tours both nationally and internationally, performing with two bands: Victor Wainwright and the Train, and Southern Hospitality.[9] Wainwright formerly toured as Victor Wainwright & the WildRoots.[10]

Early life and career

Wainwright was born in Savannah, Georgia, United States.[8] Both his father and grandfather were blues musicians, and became Wainwright's early mentors. At the age of 10 at a family gathering, Wainwright played "Für Elise".[11] Wainwright's own ensemble backed Eric Culberson at the Savannah Blues Bar, during the former's high school years.[5]

Wainwright later attended college in Daytona Beach, Florida, and undertook an Air Traffic Management and Psychology degree at Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University, before relocating to Memphis, Tennessee.[12] He then worked as an air traffic controller at Memphis International Airport.[5]

In 2004, Wainwright met Florida native Stephen Dees in Ormond Beach, Florida.[5] The latter was part of Novo Combo in the early 1980s. The meeting led to Dees co-writing and producing Wainwright's debut album, Piana from Savannah (2005).[13] In 2008, Wainwright played alongside the Reverend Billy C. Wirtz on Wirtz's live album Pianist Envy – Group Therapy.[14]

Victor Wainwright & the WildRoots

After the release of Piana from Savannah, Wainwright and Dees joined forces under the name of Victor Wainwright & the WildRoots. Wainwright and Dees shared vocal duties, with the former on keyboards and the latter on bass and guitar with Greg Gumpel as lead guitarist from 2002 through 2009. They were backed by Billy Dean (drums, backup vocal), Nick Black (guitar, backup vocal), Patricia Ann Dees, and Ray Guiser (tenor sax), and Charlie deChant (baritone sax).[15] In September 2009, they released Beale Street to the Bayou on WildRoots Records.[13] The album was praised by critics and placed on the Root Music Report "Top 50 Blues," the Blues Internet Charts, the Tennessee Roots Charts, and Europe's Collectif des Radio Blues Charts.[15]

In October 2010, Wainwright appeared at Dark Season Blues in Norway.[16][17] In 2011, he performed at the South Florida Boogie Woogie Piano Festival.[11] In June that year, Lit Up! was released, again credited to Victor Wainwright & the WildRoots.[18] The album reached the number one spot on Sirius/XM's B.B. King's Bluesville channel's "Pick To Click," number 2 on the Collectif des Radio Blues Charts, and number 13 on the Living Blues Radio Chart.

Wainwright also performed at Springing the Blues in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, plus at Memphis in May in 2012. The same year he was nominated for the first time for a Blues Music Award.[8] In October 2014, he appeared at the Daytona Blues Festival.[12]

In July 2015, Victor Wainwright & the WildRoots released Boom Town on Blind Pig Records.[19]

Southern Hospitality

Following an impromptu jam session in July 2011 in Florida, Wainwright teamed up with Damon Fowler, J.P. Soars, Chuck Riley, and Chris Peet to form the band that would eventually become Southern Hospitality. Their first gig was supporting Buddy Guy in August the same year at the Heritage Music Blues Fest in Wheeling, West Virginia.[20] Their debut album, Easy Livin' , (2013) was produced by Tab Benoit, and released by Blind Pig Records.[9] It peaked at number 9 on the US Billboard Top Blues Album chart.[12] In 2014, Wainwright won the 'Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year' award at the Blues Music Awards for the second consecutive year.[6][8][21]

Wainwright currently lives in Savannah, Georgia, having relocated from Memphis in 2022. [22]

Victor Wainwright and The Train

Performing at 2019 Rawa Blues Festival
Performing at 2019 Rawa Blues Festival

Wainwright teamed up with friend, engineer, and producer Dave Gross in 2017 to form "The Train,"[23] to begin work on what would become the 2018 Grammy nominated[24] self-titled album, Victor Wainwright and The Train. For touring and recording, Wainwright kept longtime bandmates Billy Dean on drums and Terrence Grayson on bass. For guitar, Wainwright added Pat Harrington. He also added the horn players Doug Woolverton and Mark Earley from Roomful of Blues. Wainwright wrote all 12 original songs.[25][26]

The album, Victor Wainwright and The Train, was recorded at the Ardent Studios in Memphis, Tennessee.[27] The album, co-produced by Wainwright and Gross, was released on March 9, 2018.[28] It went on to garner a Grammy Award nomination for Best Contemporary Blues Album of the Year.[29]

Wainwright currently tours with The Train, consisting of the same recording artists as on the album.


  • 2020: Blues Music Award Winner for Instrumentalist - Piano (Pinetop Perkins Piano Player)[30]
  • 2018: Grammy Award Nominee (Best Contemporary Blues Album)[24]
  • 2018: No. 1 Most played contemporary blues album of the year[31]
  • 2018: No. 2 Most played blues album of the year[32]
  • 2018: No. 1 Billboard Blues Albums Chart[7][33][34]
  • 2018: Blues Music Award Winner for the Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year[6][7]
  • 2017: Blues Music Award Winner for the Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year[6][7]
  • 2016: Blues Music Award Winner for the B.B. King Entertainer of the Year
  • 2016: Band of the Year[35]
  • 2016: Blues Blast Award Winner for Contemporary Album of the Year[36]


YearTitleRecord labelBilled as
2005Piana from SavannahWildRoots[10]Victor Wainwright
2009Beale Street to the BayouWildRootsVictor Wainwright & the WildRoots
2011Lit Up!WildRootsVictor Wainwright & the WildRoots
2013Easy Livin' Blind PigSouthern Hospitality
2015Boom TownBlind PigVictor Wainwright & the WildRoots
2018Victor Wainwright and the TrainRufVictor Wainwright and the Train
2020Memphis LoudRufVictor Wainwright and the Train

See also


  1. ^ "Blues Pianist Victor Wainwright – Minnesota State University, Mankato". Retrieved October 1, 2014.
  2. ^ "Pianna from Savannah". AllMusic. Retrieved October 1, 2014.
  3. ^ Dixon, Tom (May 1, 2018). "Wanna boogie get aboard this train opines Victor Wainwright". Retrieved August 3, 2019.
  4. ^ "Beale Street to the Bayou – Victor Wainwright & the WildRoots – Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved October 1, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d "Blues Blast Magazine – Featured Interview – Victor Wainwright". Retrieved October 1, 2014.
  6. ^ a b c d Reverend Keith A. Gordon. "2014 Blues Music Awards". Retrieved October 1, 2014.
  7. ^ a b c d "American Blues Scene 2013 Magazine Quote". Retrieved October 1, 2014.
  8. ^ a b c d "Victor Wainwright". Retrieved October 1, 2014.
  9. ^ a b "Southern Hospitality". Retrieved October 1, 2014.
  10. ^ a b "Victor Wainwright & the WildRoots". Retrieved January 24, 2016 – via Facebook.
  11. ^ a b Victor Wainwright. "Victor Wainwright's Blues". Retrieved October 1, 2014.
  12. ^ a b c "New Victor Wainwright Album Debuts on Billboard Top Ten". Retrieved October 1, 2014.
  13. ^ a b "Victor Wainwright and the WildRoots – Lit Up – CD Baby Music Store". Retrieved October 1, 2014.
  14. ^ "Yahoo! Groups". Archived from the original on September 30, 2014. Retrieved October 1, 2014.
  15. ^ a b "Victor Wainwright & the WildRoots". Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  16. ^ "Dark Season Blues 2010". Retrieved October 1, 2014.
  17. ^ "Bluesnews – Bluesnews". Retrieved October 1, 2014.
  18. ^ "Boston's on the Beach – Victor Wainwright and the Wildroots". Retrieved October 1, 2014.
  19. ^ "Pianist Victor Wainwright stretches out on Boom Town", Albany Herald, retrieved July 22, 2015
  20. ^ "Southern Hospitality featuring the Damon Fowler Band & Victor Wainwright & the WildRoots – Riverfront Blues Festival". Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved October 1, 2014.
  21. ^ "Congratulations to 2014 Blues Music Award Winner Victor Wainwright". Retrieved October 1, 2014.
  22. ^ Hinton, Ty. "Grammy-nominated blues musician Victor Wainwright back in concert at St. Augustine Beach". St. Augustine Record. Retrieved February 1, 2023.
  23. ^ Nash, J. D. (May 11, 2018). "Victor Wainwright: Pushing the Envelope with the Train".
  24. ^ a b "Victor Wainwright and the Train". May 12, 2018. Retrieved July 31, 2019.
  25. ^ Mitchell, John. "Victor Wainwright and the Train | Album Review". Retrieved August 1, 2019.
  26. ^ "Victor Wainwright & The Train - Victor Wainwright & The Train". March 27, 2018. Retrieved August 1, 2019.
  27. ^ "In the studio... Victor Wainwright". Retrieved August 1, 2019.
  28. ^ "Behind the Scenes: In the Studio With Victor Wainwright". Retrieved August 1, 2019.
  29. ^ Nash, J. D. (March 13, 2018). "Clear the Tracks – It's 'Victor Wainwright & The Train'". Retrieved August 1, 2019.
  30. ^ "Christone 'Kingfish' Ingram Takes Home 5 Blues Music Awards in Virtual Ceremony". Billboard. March 5, 2020. Retrieved May 4, 2020.
  31. ^ "Roots Music Report: Top Contemporary Blues Album Chart". Roots Music Report. Retrieved July 31, 2019.
  32. ^ "Roots Music Report: Top Blues Album Chart". Roots Music Report. Retrieved July 31, 2019.
  33. ^ "Grammy nominee Victor Wainwright & The Train coming to Beverly". Beverly Citizen. Retrieved July 31, 2019.
  34. ^ "Ruf Records". Retrieved July 31, 2019 – via Facebook.
  35. ^ McKay, Robin (September 14, 2016). "Congratulations to our 2016 Blues Music Awards Winners!". Blues Foundation. Retrieved August 2, 2019.
  36. ^ "2016 Blues Blast Music Awards". Retrieved July 31, 2019.

External links