James Clay Garrison:
James Clay Garrison: Greatly influenced by the rhythms and musical styles experienced during his years as a child in Spain, James Clay Garrison became a virtuoso guitarist and vocalist at a very early age, recording his first LP at only 15. Already an experienced performer, he went on to tour the U.S., Europe, and Asia with various bands throughout the late 80’s. James moved to Los Angeles when then untouchable guitarist, Eddie Van Halen, made his group, “Private Life” an offer to record on the WB label after Edward had seen the band perform in James’ home base, Shreveport, Louisiana.
During those first years in Los Angeles, James fronted and helped gain recording contracts for several popular 80’s Sunset Strip bands, wrote and recorded a variety of original material, and worked with the legendary Ray Charles as Writer/Producer/Musical Director. James recorded and/or performed with such artists as Stephen Stills, Brian Wilson, Van Halen, Dave Mason, and many others. Players around Southern California have referred to James as the top Singer/Guitarist in the industry.
His songs have been covered by artists as varied as Ray Charles, Shem (Ambrosia, Kenny Loggins Band), Jeanette Clinger (Hiroshima), and more. He wrote and produced award winning regional & national jingles for clients from S&W Foods to Pepsi. He also worked on some of the best selling video games (Redneck Rampage, Quake 3) as Music Consultant, Composer and Sound Designer. He made appearances as a featured Singer/ Guitarist and occasionally had speaking lines on national television shows (General Hospital, Cop Rock, 21 Jump Street, and Santa Barbara). More recently as a Composer for FOX television, James was called on to closely reproduce the sound of known artists or groups as the background music for given scenes.
Lately, he has been in the studio tirelessly putting the finishing touches on his long awaited new solo release “1000 Million Miracles”. The recording features many of the players who have been part of the extremely popular live performances JCG has put on throughout Southern California in the last decade. Touring musicians like, Todd Sucherman of the progressive rock band STYX, has been a regular replacement drummer for his group since 2002. Todd was named “Best Rock Drummer” by Modern Drummer Magazine in 2009 and is up for “Best Prog Rock Drummer” for 2012. He is featured on two of the 10 tracks on “1000 Million Miracles”. Chris Frazier was one of the first players James encountered after leaving “Private Life” in the late 80s. The driving force behind Steve Vai’s recordings in the 80s and early 90s, Chris joined James and a select group of LA musicians in the Vai backed group, “Western Vacation”, a group which garnered much critical acclaim though it’s line up was always changing. Frazier, now with 80’s super group “Foreigner”, provides the perfect drum sounds and beat for “Our Last Goodbye”, the record’s sole “power ballad”. Much of the work on keys is handled beautifully by Matt Rohde, MD for American Idol and a part of James’ band that will be out supporting the release in 2012. And the list goes on as over 20 of the world’s top musicians have joined JCG on this record.
James is also busy as a session and live Musician/Vocalist performing and recording throughout Southern California. He is a scheduled to perform at this year’s Hermosa Beach Summer Concerts and has dates lined up throughout the summer.
Quotes from Notables:
Edward Van Halen- “Now that boy can sing” (after hearing a demo for one of JCG’s original projects)….
Brian May-(Guitarist for Queen) “When I first heard James’ hands on the neck of his guitar, I knew he was a great player” (live performance. Coronado island, San Diego, Ca.)….
John Popper- (Blues Traveler Front Man)“Singing and playing guitar like he does?” That is one dangerous man” (at JCG’s Pro Jam at Saint Rocke in Hermosa Beach, Ca.)....
Todd Sucherman-(Drummer for STYX) “He [JCG] is one of my top 3 favorite people in the world to play music with”....
Chris Slade-(Drummer-AC/DC, The Firm, Tom Jones) “Because there is no one better than he [James] is at what he does” (asked why he regularly came out to hear a band in a club after playing arenas with AC/DC etc…)....
Jason Hamel- (former Jeff Buckley bassist)- “I’ve played with them both [Jeff and James] and to this day I can’t make up my mind which one of them is better”....
Ray Charles- “I love Jimmy [James Clay Garrison]. Because he thinks [musically] just like I do” (Following a session in Ray’s studio)