By Jeremy Essig
By Jason Robinson
By Hans Morgenstern
By Joseph Hess
By Peter Gilstrap
By Julia Burch
By Jeremy Essig
By Nathan Smith
Not only did his time in prison teach Young how to play to a crowd, but he was treated so well on the inside that he literally shed tears when he was released. "What [my career] is building up to now, I already had in there. I was world famous in prison," Young says. More important, he left with the peace of mind that he'd found his calling. "I never again had to wonder what I'd do. I knew that I'd be doing this till the day I die."
In the time since his release, Young has recorded 21 songs, including a recently wrapped video for "Ride," although he's never released an official album. He's played shows on the local circuit, opened for the likes of Lakeside and Chuck Berry and taken his act to country music's mecca, Nashville, Tennessee. For the past couple of years, Young's career has been picking up speed thanks to a few particularly fruitful partnerships; producer Willie Woods' knowledge of the industry has been instrumental in getting Wild Bill's songs aired on country radio, and being endorsed by local developer/music aficionado Joe Edwards has opened doors for him that would otherwise be inaccessible.
Demand for Wild Bill's unconventional style seems to be at an all-time high. After winning the regional of the Texaco Country Showdown in August (putting him in the company of artists such as Carrie Underwood and Toby Keith), Young says he's in talks with multiple record labels, including Nashville-based Average Joe's Entertainment and industry juggernaut Universal Music Group. He's also in the process of shopping a reality-show pilot out to different cable networks. If it gets picked up, the show will be produced by the same team behind Welcome to Sweetie Pie's and will prominently feature local landmarks like the Delmar Loop and Shady Jack's in downtown St. Louis.
When asked about his long-term goals, Young replies with a confident grin: "I plan to be the greatest that ever did it. I'll never stop. I'll look back about three years from now, hopefully, and I'll be at the very top. Ain't nobody gonna beat me, I'll guarantee you that."