All musicians want their music to reach as many people as possible. For one area songwriter, that goal just became a little more attainable.
Somerset's Rod Wilson recently signed a three year agreement with A.M.I. Entertainment, which will place 23 songs written by Wilson in digital jukeboxes throughout the United States, Canada and all American territories.
"These will be all songs that I have written," Wilson, who currently fronts the three-piece band, Lightnin Rod & the Thunderbolts, which features London resident Greg Kitzmiller on drums. "Although as a band we play some of these songs live, some of them were written and released before I was working with my present band."
A.M.I. Entertainment is the oldest and largest jukebox company in the country. They were on the forefront of the industry to make the transition to digital several years ago.
Wilson, a BMI/Nashville affiliated songwriter, has released 10 albums over the year and written over 700 songs. In fact, he wrote his first song when he was just 14.
"I was raised in a small town in southeast Michigan where I was exposed to a lot of great music when I was young," Wilson said. "At that time the area was a hotbed of great local rock artists like Bob Seger, Mitch Ryder, Ted Nugent, Grand Funk just to name a few. Of course the Motown sound was very close also as well as blues coming out of Detroit and Chicago. I started singing very early around four or five years old. I started playing guitar at age 11, did my first paid gig at age 14. I played in band throughout high school and continued writing."
Throughout the years Wilson released five albums of Christian music, then in 2003 he started Lightnin Rod & The Thunderbolts and toured around the tri-state area of Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana for approximately seven years.
"I also released my first two blues/rock albums during this time period also and started getting good reviews and some of the songs were getting played on radio around the country and even overseas," Wilson said. "I moved to Kentucky in 2011 and released two well received albums since I have been here. I have also performed in several states. Even though I had other jobs to provide income I always knew that music and songwriting were my passion!"
This current version of Lightnin Rod & The Thunderbolts is riding a wave of success which includes have the No. 1 Blues song (as of March 28) in the country on the N1M Blues Chart. They were recently chosen by Blast-FM Radio, LTD, in Great Britain for radio airplay to syndicated radio stations throughout Europe. Only 100 artists worldwide were chosen for this honor. In 2018, they won the Josie Music Award for Blues Group of the Year and the Silver Medal in the Global Music Awards for the album, "Delta Time."
"As I mentioned earlier, the band started in Michigan with several different members, then I moved to Florida for a couple years and had the same band name there with different members before finally setting here with the guys I play with now," Wilson said. "It's myself on guitar and vocals, Greg Kitzmiller on drums, and Jimmy Seville on bass guitar. We play three piece most of the time, but sometimes we have a sax player or a harmonica player that sits in with us as well as a couple of great female singers. I think the reason we work together well is because we have played a lot of shows together in the past few years. Musically speaking we seem to know which way each other is going on stage."
The band is currently in the process of recording a new album as well as preparing to play festivals throughout the summer months.
"We will be playing at Woodson Bend Resort," Wilson said. "This is our third year in a row there. We will also be playing The Concert On The Green in Wilmore, our second year in a row there. We will be at the Neon Festival and we are booking more for the summer. Of course we hope to be nominated for another Josie Music Award this year and make a trip to Dollywood for that. We would like to have the new album (which is currently untitled) out by the end of this year. It will be my 11th release. Times flies!"
Wilson's music is also available on Apple Music, Amazon, Spotify, CD Baby and Walmart.com.
"One thing signing the contract will do is give my music (and the Thunderbolts as a band) greater exposure in places that we never could perform at such as airport terminals, restaurants, privates clubs, etc.," Wilson said. "It will eventually be another income stream to produce even more music."