Dave Wilbert's sound is a fusion of the music he heard growing up in North Vernon, IN, a rural community featured in John Mellencamp’s “Small Town” music video. He was influenced by the records his schoolteacher parents played on the family’s stereo including The Statler Brothers, Alabama, Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, and folk mainstays Peter, Paul and Mary, and James Taylor, as well as the rock icons favored by his three brothers – Van Halen, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and KISS.
Dave's pathway to performing are familiar tropes of church choir and school chorus wedged between football and track meets. He continued performing after high school while getting a bachelor’s degree in Communications at Ball State University before making his way to Nashville at the urging of Kerry Kurt Phillips, who discovered Wilbert at a national talent search. “It’s easier now than it was before,” he admitted. “I’m not worried about record labels or saying the right thing all the time. There are so many ways to reach people that didn’t even exist before.”
Wilbert is a forward-facing traditionalist with a deep appreciation of the clever, relatable lyrics that defined ‘90s Country. “I love the groove and ingenuity of it,” Wilbert marveled. “That is a recurrent theme. Think of ‘Ocean Front Property’ by George Strait or Joe Diffie’s ‘Pickup Man.’ They are cleverly written, witty songs with a nod and a wink. They make you smile, but they are also great songs. I hope that is what we can deliver.”
Wilbert assembled a creative team that contributed to the emergence of ‘90s Country and contemporary hits including Wilbert’s producer and the co-writer of Tim McGraw’s smash “Down On The Farm'', Kerry Kurt Phillips. Wilbert’s debut radio single, “It’s All Yours,” was composed by top tunesmiths Phil O’Donnell (Strait, Blake Shelton, and Craig Morgan), Noah Gordon, who co-produced several of Colt Ford’s records, and Kendell Marvell (Gary Allen, Jamey Johnson, Jake Owen, and Chris Stapleton).
“It doesn’t feel predictable, but it is still relatable,” said the Fernvale, TN resident. “In hindsight, I can certainly relate and so can a lot of other people – men and women.” Wilbert is drawn to good stories because he has lived so many. He has experienced his share of disappointment and comes out on the other side with a sense of humor and an appreciation for what he calls “God’s Time,” when your personal timeline doesn’t exactly gel with a bigger plan.
A lifelong performer who opened for ‘90s Country mainstay Diffie and multiple Entertainer of the Year Kenny Chesney. However, Wilbert was a single dad with three young children to raise when he put his music career on pause. “It was life,” he recalled. “Life pushed me in a whole new direction and music was not the focus. I was 100 percent focused on the kids and survival. I wouldn’t trade that time with my kids for anything. I would have missed out on all those memories, and I’m OK with it.”
An avid outdoorsman who once contemplated a career as a game warden, Wilbert paid the bills with his blue-collar pursuits, selling Peterbilt trucks and veterinarian supplies. He coached his son and daughters’ sports teams and kept the guitar for back-porch picking. “I don’t care about fame,” he said candidly. “What I care about is my family and friends.”
Now emerging back into his passion of Country music, on the day this article was written Wilbert was opening up for Shenandoah. With his release of "It's All Yours" Country music fans have once again embraced Dave Wilbert back into the limelight.
As Dave Wilbert has explained, “My all-time favorite song is Hank William Jr’s ‘A Country Boy Can Survive’. I loved it because I lived it”. “Music to me is sharing the stories of everyday life and everyday people. Good honest music; it’s not more complicated than that.”