Guitar player’s career spans decades

NANAIMO - Amos Garrett performs at the Queen's Friday (March 18) at 7 p.m.

Amos Garrett performs at the Queen’s on Friday (March 18) at 7 p.m.

Amos Garrett has been playing the guitar for more than half a century.

Garrett started playing the guitar when he was 13. He said it was around that time rock ‘n’ roll first hit the airwaves and it was a big influence in his decision to pick up the instrument.

“There was something about the music. I gravitated toward it. It’s powerful,” he said. “The guitar was the most predominant instrument in the form.”

He initially borrowed a guitar from a neighbour to be able to play.

“I wanted to play music so badly it was just a joy. Every hour that wasn’t spent in school or studying I was playing the instrument,” said Garrett.

After a while, his parents bought him his own guitar for Christmas.

“I played it so much it just imploded. I broke the guitar I played it so frequently,” Garrett said. “I just loved it.”

Garrett performs in Nanaimo at the Queen’s Friday (March 18) at 7 p.m. The performance is presented by the Nanaimo Blues Society and is a partner event for Festival Nanaimo.

“Everybody please show up and fill the house and have a good time,” said Garrett.

Garrett said he’ll be performing some blues, jazz and some pop standards during the show. He’ll also pay homage to the music’s roots and play some early rhythm and blues songs.

“When I tour, the music is improvisational. It’s more new music on the spot, that is the essence of jazz and blues,” he said.

Garrett became renowned for his guitar playing skills and performed with artists such as Stevie Wonder, Bonnie Raitt, Anne Murray and Emmylou Harris. He has also been asked to lend his guitar skills to musicians’ songs and has recorded with more than 150 artists.

He said it was flattering to be asked to work with so many different musicians over the years.

Garrett was one of the original members of Great Speckled Bird, a country rock group created by Ian and Sylvia Tyson. He later became Maria Muldaur’s guitar player, according to his biography, and performed the guitar solo on her hit song Midnight at the Oasis, released in 1974.

Tickets are $25 in advance by calling 250-754-8550 or going to or $28 at the door.

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