Fans will be hard-pressed to find Jimmy Wayne Garrett with much of an online presence. But if you catch him on stage in his hometown of Eureka Springs, Arkansas, you’ll witness a presence on the guitar that will shake you awake.
“There’s a human spirit in the blues that’s really naked and raw,” Garrett says. “There’s nowhere to hide in there.”
Released in 2017, his haunting debut album, “Confession Blues” was considered for Best Self-Produced Blues Album by the International Blues Challenge. Garrett also won the Ozark Blues Challenge on two separate occasions: as a solo artist (2016) and with a band (2015).
Garrett’s storytelling ability will keep his audience guessing – and this has been key to his early success. Whether he’s telling the tale of a wanderer skipping town in “It’s a Long Way Down the Mississippi,” or a stricken soul suffering the loss of social media in “Facebook Is Dead,” Garrett combines humor, surprise, and most importantly – honesty.
“I think about honesty every time I perform,” Garrett says.
Cautioned by his first guitar teacher to “not listen to shitty music,” Garrett limits his musical influences to brilliant peers and legends: Tyler Childers, Gary Clarke Jr., Led Zeppelin, and Muddy Waters. Garrett’s latest album, Town on the Mountain – an acoustic collaboration with a country-folk duo – demonstrates his versatility across genre.
Still, Garrett feels compelled to preserve the Mississippi Delta blues tradition.
“Blues is old school,” Garrett says. “But when you play blues with a relevant contemporary perspective, it moves people.”