Amos Garrett

Amos Garrett

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Amos Garrett

Amos Garrett (born November 26, 1941, Detroit, Michigan, USA) is a Juno Award-winning American-Canadian musician, performer, and author. He holds dual citizenship and was raised in Toronto and Montreal.[1] He is best known for his guitar solo on Maria Muldaur's recording "Midnight at the Oasis".[1]

Over the course of his career, Garrett has recorded with more than 150 artists, ranging from Stevie Wonder, Todd Rundgren and Pearls Before Swine to Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt and Martin Mull.[1][2] He can be heard on Anne Murray's chart-topping rendition of "Snowbird".[1]


Early years

Garrett was born in Detroit, Michigan, USA on November 26, 1941. When he was five, he was moved to Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He studied piano and trombone through the Royal Conservatory of Music of Toronto.[3][4]

At twelve, Garrett relocated to Montreal, Quebec, Canada, where he began playing guitar at fourteen.[3][4] There, at the Esquire Club, he would learn while watching performers such as Ben E. King, T-Bone Walker, Fats Domino and B. B. King.[1][5] After an attempt to study English literature at a university in the USA, he chose a career in music and moved back to Toronto in 1962.[3][6]

Guitar for hire

Garrett's first professional gig was accompanying Mike Settle at Carnegie Hall in the winter of 1963. Settle was the opening act for comedian Vaughn Meader.[7]

From 1964 to 1967, Garrett played in the Toronto jug/string band, The Dirty Shames, which included Chick Roberts, Jim McCarthy and Carol Robinson.[3][8] It was during this period that Garrett and Roberts took John Hammond, Jr. to see Levon & The Hawks for the first time.[9] The Hawks would later be recommended by Hammond to Bob Dylan.[10]

In 1968, Garrett began a two-year stint of touring and recording with Canadian duo Ian & Sylvia, which led to becoming a founding member of Great Speckled Bird.[3] This band is featured in the film Festival Express. They are shown playing the song "C.C. Rider" with members of the Grateful Dead and Delaney Bramlett in 1970. As a special feature on the DVD release of the film, Great Speckled Bird are shown playing the Dylan/Manuel song, "Tears of Rage".

Garrett moved to Woodstock, New York in 1970 to play in Maria and Geoff Muldaur's band.[11] Based there, he performed and recorded with artists that were part of Albert Grossman's Bearsville stable, such as Bobby Charles, Todd Rundgren and Jesse Winchester, and as a member of Paul Butterfield's group, Better Days.[5] He was also a member of Hungry Chuck, another Bearsville act, which was formed of ex-Great Speckled Bird members. They released an eponymous album in 1972.[12] Garrett also played trombone on two songs for Jerry Garcia's second solo album, Compliments, released in 1974.

After living in Boston for two years, Garrett moved to San Francisco in 1976 to pursue session work.[3][5] There, he continued as member and bandleader of Maria Muldaur's group until 1978, toured the R&B circuits of North America, and recorded with more than 150 artists.[3][5]


I wanted to sing. I loved to sing, but there was no way I could do so being a hired gun for bands. - Amos Garrett[4]

In 1978, Garrett decided to pursue fronting his own project, left Muldaur's group, and began releasing material through Stony Plain Records, a label based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.[4] His first solo album was 1980's Go Cat Go, which was followed by Amosbehavin in 1982. He formed his back-up band, The 'Eh Team, around this time.[1]

Garrett shared performing and recording duties, and co-wrote two songs, on 1988's The Return of the Formerly Brothers with the late Doug Sahm and pianist Gene Taylor. Queen Ida sat in on accordion. The album was awarded the inaugural, 1989, Juno Award for Best Roots & Traditional Album.[3] A follow-up live album, Live In Japan, was recorded in 1990 as Garrett, Sahm and Tayor played clubs and concert halls in Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto.

In 1989, Garrett relocated to Turner Valley, Alberta.[4] That year also brought the album I Make My Home in My Shoes, which paid tribute to his boyhood days, especially on "Stanley Street", a song written in recollection of the Esquire Club.[5] Garrett began his intermittent role as bandleader and/or member of the Edmonton Folk Music Festival's Festival House Band in 1990, reprising it from 1994-2000, from 2002-2006, and from 2008-2011.[13][14] With Garrett, the band has backed such acts as Richard Thompson, Solomon Burke, Ruth Brown, Rick Danko, Jay McShann, Johnnie Johnson and Rosco Gordon.[15] Third Man In, released in 1992, was a collection of covers and originals. Garrett's covers were written by the likes of Bobby Charles and Percy Mayfield. Off The Floor Live followed in 1996. It was recorded live with the 'Eh Team at the Sidetrack Club in Edmonton.

The Cold Club was a collaboration with Oscar Lopez, David Wilkie, Karl Roth and Ron Casat. They released an eponymous record in 1996. Maria Muldaur, Mike Lent and Teddy Borowiecki guested on the album.[16] Garrett released Amos Garrett's Acoustic Album in 2004. It features tracks written by Leadbelly and Hoagy Carmichael, among others. It was nominated for a 2005 Juno Award. This was followed by 2008's release, Get Way Back: A Tribute to Percy Mayfield, which was also nominated for a Juno Award.[17] Garrett was living in High River, Alberta in 2008.[1]

On November 6, 2011, Garrett conducted a clinic and then performed as part of the Sleepwalk Guitar Festival in Toronto.[18] The festival was presented by Six Shooter Records and curated by Luke Doucet.[19]

Other endevours

Garrett has authored a number of instructional albums, books and videos.[20][21]

Garrett enjoys fishing, and hopes to one day catch an Atlantic Salmon of twenty pounds or greater.[1][4]


Selected long-plays

Year Album Album Artist Label
1969 This Way Is My Way Anne Murray Capital
1970 Great Speckled Bird Great Speckled Bird Ampex
1972 Hungry Chuck Hungry Chuck Bearsville
1973 Maria Muldaur Maria Muldaur Reprise
Paul Butterfield's Better Days Paul Butterfield's Better Days Bearsville
It All Comes Back
1978 Geoff Muldaur & Amos Garrett Geoff Muldaur & Amos Garrett Stony Plain
1980 Go Cat Go Amos Garrett
1981 Amosbehavin'
1988 The Return of the Formerly Brothers Amos Garrett, Doug Sahm, Gene Taylor Band
1989 I Make My Home in My Shoes Amos Garrett
1990 Live in Japan Amos Garrett, Doug Sahm, Gene Taylor Band
1992 Third Man In Amos Garrett
1996 Off the Floor Live!
The Cold Club The Cold Club Cold Club
2005 Acoustic Album Amos Garrett Stony Plain
2008 Get Way Back: A Tribute to Percy Mayfield

Compilation inclusions

Year Song Album Label Note
1991 "Bert's Boogie" Saturday Night Blues Stony Plain/CBC *composed by Amos Garrett
"Home In My Shoes" 15 Years of Stony Plain Stony Plain
"Sure Is A Good Thing" *w/Doug Sahm and Gene Taylor
"Talk To Me" *w/Doug Sahm and Gene Taylor
1996 "Long, Long Time to Get Old" 20 Years of Stony Plain *w/Great Speckled Bird
*composed by Ian Tyson
"Small Town Talk" *w/Maria Muldaur
*composed by Bobby Charles
"Wrong Lake to Catch a Fish" *composed by Chuck Willis
1997 "Walkin' Blues" Absolute Blues Vol. 1
"Sure Is A Good Thing" Absolute Blues Vol. 2 *w/Doug Sahm and Gene Taylor
2001 "Bert's Boogie" 25 Years of Stony Plain *composed by Amos Garrett
2006 "Sam's Song (The Happy Tune)" 30 Years of Stony Plain *composed by Jack Elliott/Lew Quadling
"Poor Fool Like Me" *video performance
2007 "Some Kind Of Fool" The Gift - A Tribute To Ian Tyson *composed by Ian Tyson
2011 "Get Way Back" 35 Years of Stony Plain *composed by Percy Mayfield
"Teardrops On Your Letter" *w/Doug Sahm and Gene Taylor

See also

  • Blues
  • Jazz
  • Music of Canada
  • Great Speckled Bird
  • Guitar


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 "Amos Garrett - Biography", Stony Plain Records official website, accessed 30 March 2010
  2. "Amos Garrett Discography", Amos Garrett's official website, accessed 30 March 2010
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 "Garrett, Amos", Canadian Encyclopedia, accessed 30 March 2010
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Wilson, L., "Amos Garrett, BeatRoutes A player of the month", BeatRoute magazine, 2009, Calgary, Alberta, accessed 30 March 2010
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 "Amos Garrett Biography", PDF file, Amos Garrett's official website, accessed 23 March 2010
  6. About Amos Garrett, Garrett's MySpace page, accessed 09 April 2010
  7. Bidini, D., On A Cold Road, 1998, p. 17
  8. "About Chick Roberts", Chick Roberts' MySpace page, accessed 07 April 2010
  9. Valenteyn, J., Review of Chick Roberts' Blue Turning Gray, "John's Blues Picks - November 2004", Toronto Blues Society official website, accessed 23 March 2010
  10. "The Band", Wikipedia article, accessed 30 March 2010
  11. "Great Speckled Bird", The Cool Groove, accessed 30 March 2010
  12. "Hungry Chuck: History", The Cool Groove, accessed 30 March 2010
  13. "Past Performers", Edmonton Folk Festival website, accessed 26 September 2011
  14. "Performers", Edmonton Folk Festival website, accessed 26 September 2011
  15. "Amos Garrett - Biography", Amos Garrett's official website, accessed 01 April 2010
  16. "The Cold Club", The Cold Club official website, accessed 30 March 2010
  17. "The nominees for the 2009 JUNO Awards are...", National Post, 03 February 2009, accessed 30 March 2010
  18. "Amos Garrett", Sleepwalk Guitar Festival website, accessed 26 September 2011
  19. Main page, Sleepwalk Guitar Festival, accessed 26 September 2011
  20. Homespun Music Instruction - Amos Garrett, Homespun Music Instruction website, accessed 30 March 2010
  21. Learn Roots Music - Amos Garrett, Official site of Learn Roots Music, accessed 30 March 2010

External links

This page was last modified 09.12.2011 22:17:05

This article uses material from the article Amos Garrett from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and it is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.