GILROY’S GOT PROS

And he sings the blues…

John Garcia and Friends at Fifth Street Live Concert in Gilroy (2007)

John García and Friends at Fifth Street Live Concert in Gilroy (2007)

Cruising around Downtown Gilroy you might see a guy with bushy grey hair. He walks with a slight limp, a little attitude and usually wears a hat. He has good reason to have some attitude. He is a blues musi¬cian born and raised in Gilroy. His claim to fame is that he has played with the legends of blues like BB King. Bo Diddley, John Lee Hooker, Albert King, Bonnie Raitt, Les Paul and about eighty others.

Back in high school in the late ’60s, John Garcia heard some music by Dick Dale, BB King, and Charlie Musslewhite — and he was hooked. His love of music took him to San Francisco on weekends to hear more. The music scene those days was less formal and the young kid from Gilroy was able to get into a lot of the shows. He heard music by Santana, Freddie King, the Stones and Creedence Clearwater before they were well known.

John learned his music well. Eventually he traveled and played with the best of them. He talks fondly of playing with Bo Diddley who said, “Garcia is one hell of an enter¬tainer.” John describes Albert King as a real gentleman; Bonnie Raitt was really down to earth. For thirty plus years John Garcia’s life has been about music and musicians. Why? “For the love of it,” he says.

Few people remember that blues legend John Lee Hooker lived here in Gilroy for a while. John Garcia played with Hooker’s band and to this day continues to play with John Lee Hooker, Jr. In fact, they should have a new CD out this year. John can be heard on numerous recordings but he takes the lead on his own CD “To All My Heroes.” He shares the spotlight with harmonica player David Barrett on “Serious Fun”… hot Chicago Blues with a West Coast Twist!

While John does not travel much any more, he is still busy with 50-60 students a week locally and at the School of Blues in San Jose. John is also an accomplished author with his fourth book due out soon. Of course, his books are about playing the Blues, such as Blues Guitar Method (School of Blues.)

Locally John often performs at Fifth Street Live and at Gavilan’s Bach to Blues.

For more information on Gilroy s local blues pro or to check out where he might be per¬forming, go to http://www.harmonicamaster-class.com/johngarcia.htm
MARCH/APRIL 2008 GILROY TODAY, p.15