Wilkes is known as the founder and only remaining original member of the Legendary Shack Shakers, formed in Murray, Kentucky (and later relocated to Nashville, TN) in the mid ‘90s. The band rose to prominence when their “C.B. Song” was featured in a long-running Geico commercial. After signing with Bloodshot Records, the band toured nationally and internationally with acts like The Black Keys and Robert Plant.
Wilkes’ contributions to visual art include many sideshow banners and comic strips. His “Head Cheese” strip was seen in the Nashville RAGE (Metromix) weekly from 2005-2008. Other works by Wilkes have been seen in Juxtapoz, Snicker, U. Magazine, ALARM Magazine, Twisted South and TopShelfComix.com. Wilkes illustrated the book Spookiest Stories Ever for the University Press of Kentucky, released in 2010. In 2011 he released Grim Hymns, a comic hymnal/graphic novel featuring some of his work for TopShelf. In 2013, he completed work on another comic book that accompanies Shooter Jennings’ album The Other Life.
Wilkes holds a Bachelor’s degree in Studio Art from Kentucky’s Murray State University and A.A. from Paducah Community College (now WKCTC).
In 2006, Wilkes, along with Blake Judd, Todd Tue, and Jacob Ennis, began work on a documentary film titled Seven Signs that explored “music, myth, and the American South.” The film premiered on December 30, 2007, at the Belcourt Theatre in Nashville, Tennessee. After winning “Best Featurette” and “Best Documentary” awards, the film screened at London’s prestigious Raindance Film Festival. Seven Signs also traveled to the Cannes Film Festival where it was presented in the official catalog.
Eventually tiring of the perils of playing punk rock tours, Wilkes formed The Dirt Daubers, an old-time, roots-influenced side project with his wife, Jessica, (featuring “Slow” Layne Hendrickson or Mark Robertson on bass). In 2012, the band expanded their sound to incorporate more rockabilly and blues material. The Dirt Daubers’ self-titled debut was released in October 2009.