Curnie, born in Jackson, Kentucky and Russell, born in Dayton, Ohio, performed together as the Wilson Brothers from the late 1960s into the early 1980s. Curnie played guitar and sang lead and Russell played bass and sang tenor. They got their start playing in churches with J.D. Jarvis. where they were noticed by Ralph Stanley who asked them to play at his festival in McClure, Virginia. They then went on their own around 1970 and issued their first LP in 1971 on the Pine Tree label in Hamilton, Ohio. After that they recorded five more albums, three on Old Homestead and two on Vetco. Their last LP came in 1984, the year that the group disbanded because of health problems. Curnie never returned to active performing but Russell came back in 1998 and began appearing on the Cumberland Highlanders TV show. He recorded a solo CD on the Crosscut label in 2003.

The Wilson Brothers had a sound eerily similar to the Stanley Brothers and in fact one of their LPs was Sacred Songs in the Stanley Tradition. They recorded a song that was a tribute to the Stanley Brothers titled “The Stanleys Will Sing Again”. Their most lasting contribution to southwestern Ohio bluegrass music was “Lonesome Old Home” which was played on WYSO’s Saturday Night Request Show almost every Saturday night for ten years. They wrote the music and Ed Hamilton wrote the words to that song which became an extremely popular recording for the bluegrass super-group Longview.

In 1979 they were calling their band the Bluegrass Harvesters. Band members over the years included Lonnie Bolin, Larry Polley, Denver Jones, and Scotty Sparks.

In 2005, Russell had pneumonia which resulted in a series of strokes. He recovered enough to sing again on TV. In 2013 he contracted pneumonia again with complications that culminated with his death.

Curnie’s son, Curnie Lee Wilson has become an accomplished acoustic lead guitar player and is active in bluegrass music, partnering with Rick Oldfield in a band called Fenced In.

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