Country Music Hall of Fame inducts Brainerd guitarist
Guitarist Dick Wilt of Brainerd was named for the Minnesota Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006 and this past month joined the Legends of Dakota Country Music Hall of Fame.
The 78-year-old Brainerd musician, who has performed since age 12, said he feels good about being inducted into the Dakota Country Music Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame ceremony was Sept. 30 at the Moose Lodge in Rapid City, S.D., and honored 17 music legends.
Wilt moved to Brainerd after performing nationwide from 1959 to 1971 with The Tornadoes, a rock group. Over the decades, he has played in numerous bands, including Daybreak, Diane Saumer and Friends and also was part of a family band—The Wilt Brothers.
The Wilt Brothers consisted of Wilt, his brother Greg Wilt and Greg's sons Joe, Steve and Tom Wilt. Greg Wilt played with the band until he died in 1998. Dick Wilt played with his nephews on and off for many years.
The Wilt Brothers Band played a variety of music, mostly old country and old rock and roll. The band played mainly in Wisconsin, Nebraska, Wyoming, South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota. The more recent iteration of The Wilt Brothers—Steve, Tom and Joe Wilt and their friend Grey Svihovec—was inducted into the Legends of Dakota County Music Hall of Fame in 2017. They performed their last professional show at the special induction ceremony.
Dick Wilt plays a variety of music and is gifted on steel and bass guitar as well as the banjo. Today, he plays gospel music on his own.
"I love to play," Wilt said. "I love music. I grew up on a farm and didn't like it and I learned I could make a living playing a guitar, so I did that."
Wilt said he looks up to guitar players Les Paul, Mary Ford and Barney Kessel from the 1950s.
Wilt's wife Joyce of 47 years said her husband also was awarded an "Exchange Club 1989 Revue of Excellence" from the Brainerd Lakes Chamber of Commerce.