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Garrett, Amos (26 November 1941 – Present)

Guitarist and 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, and Tokyo.

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.

He performed in Toronto in November 2011 at the Sleepwalk Guitar Festival, where he also conducted a clinic.

Here he is performing his “Poor Old Fool Like Me”….