singer-songwriter from Detroit, Michigan, whose family emigrated to Canada
while he was still very young and enrolled him into the Royal Conservatory
of Music in Toronto, Ontario.
There he learned how to play the piano and the trombone, but he
wouldn’t find his voice until the family moved to Montreal, Quebec,
and he picked up a guitar at fourteen years of age.
He went to
college in the United
States and studied English literature but
decided on a music career instead.
In 1963, he made his stage debut at Carnegie Hall, no less, with
Mike Settle, who was the opening act for a comedian named Vaughn Meader. In
1964, he joined The Dirty Shames, a jug band that comprised Jim McCarthy, Chick
Roberts, and Carol Robinson. He
caught the ear of Ian & Sylvia and they co-founded Great Speckled Bird,
a country-rock group that recorded in Nashville, Tennessee, and spent a
great deal of time on the road.
In 1970, Amos
relocated to Woodstock,
New York, and played with a
variety of artists and groups, including Better Days, Bobby Charles, Jerry
Garcia, Hungry Chuck, Todd Rundgren, and Jesse
Winchester. He spent a good
portion of the ‘70s as Maria Muldaur’s
bandleader and appeared on four of her albums, famously adding one of his
virtuoso solo lines to “Midnight at the Oasis”.
In 1980, he
released his solo debut album, Go Cat
Go. His sophomore effort, Amosbehavin,
hit the shelves in 1982. In
1988, he collaborated with Queen Ida, Doug Sahm
and Gene Taylor on The Return of the
Formerly Brothers. It won
the first-ever Juno Award in the category of Best Roots & Traditional
Album. In 1989, he released
another solo album, I Make My Home in
My Shoes, and this was followed by Live
in Japan, a collection of footage from concerts he performed with Doug
and Gene in Kyoto, Osaka,
In 1990, he
became the bandleader for the Edmonton Folk Music Festival House Band, a
role he would fulfill off and on for the better part of two decades. More albums followed: Amos
Garrett Acoustic Album, Off the
Floor Live, Third Man In, and
The Cold Club, a self-titled CD
by a makeshift group that included Ron Casat,
Oscar Lopez, Karl Roth, and David Wilkie.
In 2008, Amos
released Get Way Back: A Tribute to Percy Mayfield. He has spent the latter part of the
millennium fronting The Amos Garrett Jazz Trio.