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called home this morning," Wilson's wife, Linda Boulware-Wilson, wrote in a Nov. 2 Facebook post confirming his death. "Ronnie Wilson was a genius with creating, producing, and playing the flugelhorn, trumpet, keyboards, and singing music, from childhood to his early seventies."

Wilson formed The Gap Band in the early 1970s in Tulsa, Okla., with his brothers Charlie and Robert Wilson. The name was inspired by three streets in their hometown — Greenwood, Archer and Pine — that had defined the "Black Wall Street" district destroyed in the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. The brothers grew up with a love of music, raised by a music teacher mother and a preacher father. Ronnie would develop into an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, contributing keyboards, horns and percussion in addition to vocals on several of the band's albums.

The Gap Band released its debut album, Magicians Holiday, in 1974. But it was in the 1980s that the group's distinctive electro-funk style would come to define the era's increasingly synth-heavy R&B sound. The band produced a number of hit songs, including "You Dropped a Bomb on Me," "Burn Rubber on Me (Why You Wanna Hurt Me)" and "Outstanding."


The genre-melding sound of The Gap Band has continued to inspire countless artists in the generations that followed. In addition to its songs being sampled or covered by artists including Ice Cube, Mary J. Blige and Ashanti, the group earned songwriting credits in 2015 on the Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars smash "Uptown Funk" after noting similarities between the song and its own "Oops Upside Your Head."

The band continued to write and perform after its '80s breakthrough, and Charlie Wilson embarked on a solo career in the 1990s. In 2010, Robert Wilson, the band's bassist, died of a heart attack at 53. In his later years, Ronnie Wilson was involved in the music ministry of San Antonio's Community Bible Church, turning to religion after a long career in music. Speaking to the publication My San Antonio in 2011, the church's minister of music and worship Ray Jones said, "They love to hear Ronnie sing."

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Be on KRCB 104.9...answer this month's "Talk to Me" question: With fire season upon us, are you having second thoughts about Sonoma County?
You can do a recording right from your computer or smartphone, but please use an external microphone (ear buds are good enough). Don't worry, you can try as many times you like until you get a "good take." We won’t hear any of the bad ones. After you finish, the page will give you a chance to listen and decide if you like it. Once you get a good one, you'll be asked for your name and email address. Then hit "Send.” (Click "reset" if you would rather try again.)
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Listen to the Sonoma County Birdwatch!

fullerThroughout the week, we play short segments about what birds are out in Sonoma County and what they sound like, from Harry Fuller. Here's what we've aired so far. Harry spent his working career as a TV and Internet newsman in the Bay Area.  He’s been leading bird trips and writing about birds for thirty years.  He has written three natural history books: Freeway Birding, I-5 San Francisco to Seattle; San Francisco’s Natural History, Sand Dunes to Streetcars; Great Gray Owl in California, Oregon & Washington. He blogs regularly about birds:  And he frequently leads birding trips on the Pacific Coast. Check him out at

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We've got a new thing: text KRCB to (707) 606-0911. Or just add your cell number below. We'll text you back when we have something special on the radio--so you can listen live or with a link to listen later. No spam! Not more than once a week or so. Try KRCB-Me.

Our podcast "Living Downstream" has been named by the Global Center for Climate Justice as one of "Five Climate Justice Podcasts You Need to Follow." Wow:

Listen to some recent episodes! Generations in Houston's Fifth Ward Contend with Contamination, Cancer Clusters will break your heart, and perhaps solidify your resolve to make change. The Sea Next Door is told in true partnership with the community living near California's Salton Sea, an environmental powder keg, where the state has no idea how to avoid a coming health disaster.

Get them here, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Dana RebmannDana Rebmann tells us all where to go in our regular Hiding Places segments.  Dana lives in Santa Rosa and writes about travel, nature, wine, and anything that makes folks smile for Hemispheres, AARP, TravelAge West,Diablo Magazine, Sonoma Magazine, The, and more. Dana loves adventures that get her outside, especially near or in water. Check out our interactive map of her top 50 Hiding Places.

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