The Webb Wilder character was created for a short film about a backwoods private detective who fell out of the ’50s and happened to be a musician. With his group, Wilder combines the surf guitar of the Ventures with the rock roots of Duane Eddy, drawing on the feel of both country music and film noir. Though sometimes bordering on the gimmicky, the band is quite humorous yet plays serious music. It Came from Nashville featured a cover of Steve Earle’s “Devil’s Right Hand,” appropriate because, like Earle, Wilder rocked too hard to be country but kept a twang that might put off mainstream rock fans. Wilder’s next two albums didn’t necessarily forge new ground but refined the band’s sound somewhat, making its R&B influence more apparent. In concert, Wilder often gives stream-of-consciousness recitations that touch on motor homes, voodoo, television, and other somewhat kitschy subjects; usually they’re funny enough to work. An example of his live show, Born to Be Wilder, appeared in 2008 from Blind Pig Records. More Like Me followed in 2009, again from the Blind Pig label. That same year, he recorded the vocal for the track “Rosie’s Place,” from Disney’s Mater’s Car Tunes release.
Wilder continued to work the road hard. In 2011, he and his band became unofficial cultural ambassadors to Fiji and toured there. Later in the year on home soil, he was inducted into the Mississippi Musician’s Hall of Fame with Elmore James, Jim Dickinson, Delaney Bramlett, Mickey Gilley, and Paul Davis, among others. Wilder didn’t release another record until 2015, when Landslide issued Mississippi Morderne, a set of new originals and covers. ~ Robert Gordon