Eric Gales, the blues guitarist who has amazed the masters of the instrument around the world, will perform on Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019 at the 9th Annual John Coltrane International Jazz and Blues Festival. This is Gales third time playing the Coltrane Jazzfest because his show and stage presence are so electrifying.
His latest album The Bookends was released on the Provogue/Mascot label this past February and went to No. 1 on the Billboard Blues Chart a few weeks after its release. Middle of the Road, Gales’ 2017 release reached #1 on the iTunes Blues chart and #4 on the Billboard Blues chart. In the UK it made Classic Rock Magazine and Total Guitar album of the year.
He grew up in a religious household in Memphis, TN, but, as a toddler of no more than age four, soaked up the music of Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Muddy Waters, Blue Cheer, Albert King, John Lee Hooker, King’s X and Stevie Ray Vaughan his older brothers blasted out while their mom was in church. Naturally right handed, Eric learned his distinctive left handed upside down playing from his brothers.
Gales started recording in 1991 while still a teenager and has released 18 albums in his career. His two siblings, Eugene and Manuel, joined him in 1995 forming the Gales Brothers Band and releasing Left Hand Band. Over the next few years he worked on various projects including performing as Lil E with Hip Hop collectives Prophet Posse and Triple 6 Mafia. In 2001 he returned and released his first album on MCA records That’s What I Am before moving to Mike Varney’s legendary shredder label, Shrapnel Records for Crystal Vision (2006) and The Psychedelic Underground (2007). Four albums on Blues Bureau International followed; The Story of My Life (2008), Layin’ Down The Blues (2009), ‘Relentless (2010) and Transformation (2010).
He spent 2009 in the Shelby County, TN jail serving time for drug possession and weapons charges. While there he played out his own version of Johnny Cash’s ‘Walk the Line,’ performing for the mayor of Memphis, at city festivals and other free shows. Battling drug and alcohol addiction until 2017, Gales now proudly tells his story of his re-birth and being sober for two years.
He has toured almost non-stop, playing shows with Gary Clark Jr., Beth Hart, Gov’t Mule and travelled through Australia, Argentina, Chile, US and Europe – including the Rockin’ The Blues run with Gary Hoey, Quinn Sullivan and Lance Lopez. He played his first ever headline tour in the UK and Ireland to sold out crowds, took a starring role as part of Supersonic Blues Machine at the UK’s Ramblin’ Man Fair and also found time to play a reunion show as The Eric Gales Band. This is not to mention his collaborations with funk royalty Bootsy Collins (‘World Wide Funk’) and The Apocalypse Blues Revue (Shannon Larkin/Tony Rombola of Godsmack).