Sunday, January 6, 2013

An Interview With Nolan Garrett - Young Blues in the Pacific NW

By Son Jack Jr.
 "Playing in your garage won't get you anywhere. Get out, be seen, and be heard” - Nolan Garrett
There is obviously something special about the water in this region, as the Pacific Northwest seems to have more than its fair share of young up and coming blues players. This first issue of The Torch focuses on a young man who, in my opinion, is at the forefront of this next wave and yet only turned 15 last month. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Nolan Garrett…

SJ: How did you get started in music?
NG: My Mom was the one that really got me started. I was trying to do something new every year and sports wasn’t my thing. Music was next on the list so I started taking guitar lessons at 8 years old from Daniel Harris at Ted Brown Music in Tacoma. I didn't initially want to take guitar lessons, but Mom made me go, and it turned out that I really enjoyed it and found out I was good at it. From there I started performing with a family friend around town. I really enjoyed performing and being on stage. I realized then this is what I want to do. Now that my voice has changed I've been taking voice lessons from Sue Carr based out of Seattle.

SJ: Why play the blues?
NG: I started going to a lot of Jams. They were mostly blues jams so I started to naturally gravitate towards that style of music, plus I like the freedom and flexibility that blues presents. Also, the blues community is very supportive of all musicians and we all learn from each other, and appreciate each other’s' talents.

SJ: What are your main musical influences?
NG: I listen to all sorts of music with influences coming from all areas. The few that really made an impression are Jimi Hendrix, John Mayer, Led Zeppelin, Stevie Ray Vaughn, to name a few. Musicians I really admire include John Mayer and JoeBonamassa because they are both out playing bluesy music, but presenting it in a way that a wide variety of audiences like it. Plus, they are great guitar players.

SJ: What are some of your musical career highlights so far?
NG: Learning to play guitar (ha ha). Seriously though, the "Kids Got Talent" competition was great and led to a performance at the Paramount Theatre when I was only 12. I also won a video contest voted by fans on Facebook. More recently, getting to play with and perform for numerous well-known musicians has been awesome.

SJ: Any plans to release a CD in the near future?
NG: I'm currently working on finishing up my first album being produced by Jeff Kossack/Other Hand Studios in LA, set to release in the late spring or early summer of 2013. It will have 10-12 original tracks and the music is my own style that is influenced by many of the people I mentioned earlier.

SJ: What are your goals?
NG: I'm working towards being a successful touring musician, playing in front of tens of thousands of people. Location doesn't matter – I’m flexible and Mom can drive until I’m old enough (ha ha). As of now my immediate need is more paid gigs to help with studio, travel, recording expenses, equipment, lessons and the list goes on. I’m hoping that I can make some impact and connections while at the IBC to help drive
this. If music wasn’t my focus then I would like to be some kind of teacher. Both my parents are teachers and I love working with younger kids.

SJ: In closing, any words of wisdom for other younger and older musicians?
NG: I'm still working on stuff myself, but for younger players I would say play as much as you can and as often as you can, especially in front of people. Playing in your garage won't get you anywhere. Get out, be seen, and be heard. I started to practice about 2- 6 hours a day after I realized it was what I wanted to do. I don't think I am in any position to give advice to more experienced musicians. Although, I do appreciate
all of the older musicians who have helped me along the way and have taken the time for one on one advice.

Nolan typifies the ambitious young player and maintains a schedule that many a pro/semi-pro would kill for, and hopefully will start to get more paid gigs (hint, hint to any promoters reading this). Nolan will represent the South Sound Blues Association at the 2013 International Blues Challenge in Memphis and we all wish him the very best of luck! You can follow Nolan on Twitter at

No comments:

Post a Comment