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Amos Garrett


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At last, one of the great roots music guitarists fulfills a long-held ambition, and releases a jazz album on Stony Plain

A stretch? Not really - The Amos Garrett Jazz Trio reminds us all that the blues was once a major part of the jazz world

Over a four-decade career, there's not a lot Amos Garrett hasn't done.

As one of the most distinctive guitar players since the Telecaster was invented, he's made almost a dozen albums of his own, most of them for the Edmonton-based label Stony Plain. He's appeared on more than 150 artists' recordings, and he's played rock and roll, folk and pop. Not to mention just about every other kind of roots music there is, from blues to country.
He's played and recorded with Paul Butterfield, Ian Tyson, Bonnie Raitt, Jesse Winchester, Maria Muldaur, Emmylou Harris, Bobby Charles and even Anne Murray.
But, until now, he's never recorded a jazz album.

Oh, a jazz album has been on Amos Garrtt's to-do list for ever; he's been talking about recording one for years.
The nay-sayers may have delayed the project, and he's heard all their reasons: your fans won't like it, your audience won't understand it, it's not roots music, you're not Pat Metheny or John Scofield.
Wrong, wrong, and wrong again. When you listen to the new Stony Plain album by the Amos Garrett Jazz Trio, you'll relate immediately to all his other albums, because the common root of the blues is instantly recognizable.
And what's to "understand"? It swings and it's smart and inventive and witty. And, no, it doesn't sound a bit like Pat Metheny or John Scofield or any other jazz guitarist.
In fact, the new CD sounds like Amos Garrett, multiplied by two with the addition of Calgary guitar virtuoso Keith Smith, adept at chord soloing and the use of elaborate plucked harmonics and alternating harmonics and natural fretted notes. You know, the things pioneered by Ed Bickert and Chet Atkins and then taken to the moon by Lenny Breau (a major influence).
And add Greg Carroll who is the bass playing rock that Amos and Keith lean on.

Garrett doesn't see a jazz album as a major stretch.
"What we‘re doing is bringing the blues back to jazz - it used to a big part of jazz, but along the way the music got too complicated, some of the musicians got too self-involved, and the blues got lost."
He pauses, and adds: "And a lot of jazz fans got lost too. It would be nice to get a few of them back in the fold."
The Amos Garrett Jazz Trio's debut album includes pieces by Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk and Freddie Hubbard, all modern jazz players who were steeped in the blues. (Perhaps, in the future, the trio will record pieces by Horace Silver and Dizzy Gillespie two more bebop players who knew the basic soul of 12-, 16- and 32-bar blues.)
There are other gems on the CD, all of it recorded live at various concerts in Western Canada. Among them, a stunning vocal by Roberta Donnay on "Skylark," an old Hoagy Carmichael/Johnny Mercer tune. Marvels Amos:
"This is an incredibly hard song to sing; there are three key changes in the bridge alone. Roberta sings it like Billie Holiday without the heroin..."
There's another classic from the American songbook, "Cocktails for Two," and a medley of two tunes by Bob Erlendson, a Calgary-based jazz player whom Garrett has long admired - and who taught the late Lenny Breau.

Amos Garrett hates reading his bios - he feels that his story's been told so many times he can hardly go over it once again.
But, for any latecomers, here are some basic notes:

  • Born in Detroit in 1941.
  • Raised in Montreal and Toronto.
  • Early influences: Hearing Fats Domino, T-Bone Walker, B.B. King and dozens more at Montreal's long-gone Esquire Club on Stanley Street.
  • First major U.S. appearance: At Carnegie Hall with comedian and JFK imitator Vaugn Meader.
  • First choice session guitarist: During the '70s and early '80s, Amos recorded tracks with more than 150 artists - from Paul Butterfield to Bonnie Raitt, Bobby Charles, Emmylou Harris, Ian Tyson, Maria Muldaur (everyone remembers his one-take solo on "Midnight at the Oasis"), and Jesse Winchester.
  • Touring: Worked as a member of Ian & Sylvia's Great Speckled Bird and Paul Butterfield's Better Days; and toured with Maria Muldaur as her bandleader.
    Guitar heroes Chet Atkins, Richard Thompson and Mark Knopfler have all praised Garrett's unique style.

"Every month, I celebrate the fact that I now get pensions from the United States and Canada, and my wife is still working," he explains, sitting in their Victorian house in High River, Alberta.
But that certainly does not mean he's retired, or even slowing down, He loves working with his Jazz Trio, he'll be leading the famed House Band at the Edmonton Folk Festival again this summer, and there will be dates across Canada. He's going to teach at a music camp in Alaska - and there will, no doubt, be time for fishing. The Jazz Trio is set to play at the Vancouver Island MusicFest, and Amos will play an all-star guitar session with James Burton, Albert Lee and David Wilcox - a serious amount of twang power. And, of course, he still has his powerful blues band of 25 years, the Eh! Team.

Sounds like a jazz life, indeed...

Guitar Heroes

Guitar Heroes
SPCD 1381
Genre: Blues
Released: 5 May 2015

Also available on 180g vinyl, with digital download card. Get the LP at:

Four Telecaster Masters — James Burton, Albert Lee, Amos Garrett and David Wilcox — shake up the rock and roll universe on this historic release, a recording from July 12, 2013 when these Guitar Heroes performed together at the Vancouver Island MusicFest.

Rooted in blues and rockabilly influences, these four legends have shaped, and changed the sound of popular music since the mid-1950s.

The musicianship, good taste, camaraderie, respect and experience on stage that night made guitar history.

  1. That's All Right (Mama) (5:18)
  2. Susie Q (5:26)
  3. Sleep Walk (4:13)
  4. Leave My Woman Alone (7:39)
  5. You're The One (7:57)
  6. Comin' Home Baby (4:32)
  7. Flip, Flop & Fly (4:32)
  8. Only The Young (6:15)
  9. Polk Salad Annie (5:44)
  10. Bad Apple (6:29)
  11. Country Boy (5:54)


Living Blues
By Robert H. Cataliotti
"Their playing is technically dazzling, but tasteful restraint, flawless execution and dynamic interplay rule the day."

Jazzblues (Amos Garrett Jazz Trio)

Jazzblues (Amos Garrett Jazz Trio)
SPCD 1368
Genre: Blues/Jazz
Released: 4 June 2013
In addition to recording blues and roots music solo albums for Stony Plain, Amos has been leading his Jazz Trio for several years. The band's motto is "bringing blues back to jazz." The Trio's debut album reminds us all that blues was once a major part of the jazz world.
  1. Freddie Freeloader (3:52)
  2. Misterioso (6:25)
  3. Blue Monk (3:51)
  4. Cocktails for Two (6:25)
  5. Little Sunflower (10:19)
  6. Bob Erlendson Medley: Forty One/Ronnie's Gone (7:37)
  7. All Blues (7:15)
  8. Skylark (4:07) feat. Roberta Donnay


Penguin Eggs
By Eric Thom

"Exquisite interplay for those who love emotional expression and delectable tone."

The Christmas Song - Single [Digital Only]

The Christmas Song - Single [Digital Only]
SPDD 0007
Genre: Jazz
Released: 18 December 2012

Get it on iTunes
  1. The Christmas Song (5:21) Amos Garrett Jazz Trio
This disc is no longer available to order physically.
Get it on iTunes

Get Way Back: A Tribute To Percy Mayfield

Get Way Back: A Tribute To Percy Mayfield
SPCD 1330
Genre: Blues
Released: 22 April 2008
  1. My Jug And I (2:56)
  2. Pretty Eyed Baby (5:48)
  3. Stranger In My Own Hometown (3:15)
  4. Never Say Naw (4:21)
  5. The Country (4:23)
  6. To Claim It's Love (5:54)
  7. The River's Invitation (Listen to mp3 clip) (3:46)
  8. Fading Love (5:54)
  9. Get Way Back (2:40)
  10. Ha Ha In The Daytime (Listen to mp3 clip) (6:08)
  11. Lost Mind (Listen to mp3 clip) (2:25)


By Ross Boissoneau

His vocal delivery is as smooth as molasses, while his guitar - indeed, the entire instrumental backing - harkens back decades.

Acoustic Album

Acoustic Album
SPCD 1299
Genre: Blues
Released: 5 November 2004
  1. She Don't Go Nowhere (Listen to mp3 clip) (2:34)
  2. Sam's Song (Listen to mp3 clip) (5:04)
  3. Perfume and Tobacco (4:03)
  4. Judgement Day (3:15)
  5. Hong Kong Blues (Listen to mp3 clip) (2:51)
  6. Michigan Water Blues (3:00)
  7. I Hate Myself (3:10)
  8. Bailey Hill Requiem (2:43)
  9. Always Got Your Hands On That Guitar (3:25)
  10. Grasshoppers In My Pillow (3:00)
  11. Small Fry (3:18)
  12. Some Musician Was To Blame (3:40)

The Return Of The Formerly Brothers

The Return Of The Formerly Brothers
SPCD 1296
Genre: Blues
Released: 27 October 2004

Get it on iTunes
  1. Smack Dab In The Middle (Listen to mp3 clip) (3:44)
  2. Big Mamou (2:51)
  3. Teardrops On Your Letter (4:02)
  4. Drunk (Listen to mp3 clip) (4:08)
  5. Don't Tell Me (3:14)
  6. Coming Back Home (1:59)
  7. Sure Is A Good Thing (3:40)
  8. Amarillo Highway (4:01)
  9. Banks Of The Old Pontchartrain (3:19)
  10. Just Like A Woman (5:15)
  11. Gene's Boogie (3:02)
  12. Queen Of The Okanagan (3:57)
  13. Louis Riel (Listen to mp3 clip) (3:50)
  14. Doug Sahm Interview (14:04)
This disc is no longer available to order physically.
Get it on iTunes

Off The Floor - Live

Off The Floor - Live
SPCD 1225
Genre: Blues/Rock
  1. Wrong Lake To Catch A Fish (3:36)
  2. Bad Bad Whiskey (4:42)
  3. Maybe It's Because Of Love (2:52)
  4. Just Like A Fish (3:29)
  5. Walkin' Blues (Listen to mp3 clip) (4:23)
  6. That's What A Little Dream Can Do (4:52)
  7. Grasshoppers In My Pillow (4:32)
  8. Buried Alive In The Blues (4:18)
  9. Sleepwalk (Listen to mp3 clip) (4:30)
  10. Goose Grease (4:21)
  11. Looking For A Sign (3:57)
  12. Willie And The Hand Jive (8:30)
  13. Conversation With John Lee Hooker (12:27)


SPCD 1189
Genre: Blues/Rock
  1. I Can't Quit You (3:54)
  2. Baton Rouge (3:33)
  3. Some Cats Know (Listen to mp3 clip) (4:33)
  4. Stella Ain't Got No Brains (2:18)
  5. New Orleans (Listen to mp3 clip) (4:05)
  6. Little Sister (3:28)
  7. Ha Ha In The Daytime (4:41)
  8. Cardiac Arrest (4:41)
  9. Love Song Of The Nile (4:10)
  10. Imojochu (4:35)

Third Man In

Third Man In
SPCD 1179
Genre: Blues/Rock
  1. Poor Fool Like Me (Listen to mp3 clip) (3:45)
  2. Baby Your Feets Is Cold (3:20)
  3. But I Do (4:18)
  4. I Ain't Lying (2:52)
  5. What A Fool I Was (4:10)
  6. Got To Get You Off My Mind (2:40)
  7. Rainy Night In Georgia (Listen to mp3 clip) (4:17)
  8. Flying Home (3:41)
  9. Let Yourself Go (3:46)
  10. Lost Love (4:01)

I Make My Home In My Shoes

I Make My Home In My Shoes
SPCD 1132
Genre: Blues/Rock
  1. Home In My Shoes (3:33)
  2. Stanley Street (4:50)
  3. All My Money (Listen to mp3 clip) (3:00)
  4. Sleepwalk (Listen to mp3 clip) (3:57)
  5. Hair Of The Dog (3:10)
  6. Bert's Boogie (Listen to mp3 clip) (3:00)
  7. Move On Down The Line (5:01)
  8. Slip Away (4:18)
  9. Little Girl (5:09)
  10. Buried Alive In The Blues (4:27)