Lifenotes: John Lincoln Wright

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• December 5, 2011

New England’s most popular country artist, John Lincoln Wright, passed away on Sunday morning, December 4, at age 64.

Wright won so many Massachusetts Music Awards that he was retired from the competition several years ago. His albums were distributed by Rounder Records.

The Boston native began his musical career when he became the lead singer of the rock band The Beacon Street Union in 1966. The group was signed by MGM Records and issued two LPs in 1968, The Eyes of The Beacon Street Union and The Clown Died in Marvin Gardens.

In 1972, Wright switched to country music and formed his band The Sour Mash Boys. The group recorded his debut solo LP, Takin’ Old Route One, shortly thereafter. Wright came to Nashville to record 1981’s You Can’t Get There From Here, which was co-produced by Pat Higdon.

Joe Sun recorded Wright’s songs “Lonesome Rainin’ City” and “Pull Away From Your Man.” Vernon Oxford also covered “Lonesome Rainin’ City.” James Talley recorded with The Sour Mash Boys in 1985, and Wright sang backup on albums by Mary Gauthier and Geoff Bartley.

His own recording career resumed with the 1990 CD That Old Mill. In 1991, Wright and the Sour Mash Boys released its follow-up CD Honky Tonk Verite.

According to Ken Irwin at Rounder Records, John Lincoln Wright had been ill for some time prior to his passing.

“His death leaves a tremendous hole in the New England country-music community,” said Irwin. “He was a great songwriter, band leader and friend, and will be missed by all.”

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Robert K. Oermann is a longtime contributor to MusicRow. He is a respected music critic, author and historian.

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