Tim Gartland has been mastering the harmonica since he was 13 years old. At 14, his eyes and ears bestowed the bone-rattling presence and performance of legendary Chicago blues icon Muddy Waters. This would alter the rest of Tim’s life, leading him on a relentless path towards creating and producing his own brand of blues music.
Yes, the Ohio native fell under the voodoo spell of blues music, specifically Chicago blues. Naturally, Gartland made the move to The Windy City to immerse himself in the thick of the blues scene. It wasn’t long before he found himself studying harmonica with famed harp player Jerry Portnoy, who has played with Muddy himself, as well as Eric Clapton among many others. Gartland’s dedication proved more than effective over the years, as he shared the stage for other lifelong idols of his such as Bo Diddley, Carey Bell, Big Jack Johnson and Pinetop Perkins.
“The blues is essentially a genre in which the singer is having a cathartic experience. If you write about themes that are meaningful to your experience, you will create something new,” says Gartland.
After getting his fill of Chicago living, Gartland shipped east to try his hand among the Boston blues scene in 1989. It didn’t take long before he became a key cog in the music circuit over there. He was a founding member and lead vocalist/harmonica shredder for popular group The Porch Rockers, who ended up releasing three acclaimed albums. Over the years, he has found himself a staple at numerous regional and national blues festivals.
In 2011, he forged his own path in completing his debut album entitled, “Looking Into the Sun”. The Boston Globe compared Gartland’s “veteran vocals and precision harp work” to the style of the iconic bluesman Charles Musselwhite. That same year, he became a published author after writing his instructional book for the harmonica entitled, “The Talking Harmonica”.
“The Talking Harmonica” is nearly 200 textbook-sized pages of proper scales, tips, and tricks on how to master your harmonica. Gartland incorporates all kinds of fun and humorous anecdotes and pictures along the way, clearly displaying just how much hard work and thought he put into his publication. You can view and purchase his book on Amazon HERE.
Gartland relocated to Nashville, Tennessee in 2015 where he currently resides. He has since become an active member of the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) and actively shares his long-tenured blues talents in Music City. His latest album, “If You Want A Good Woman,” was just released last year and features a number of well-known session players in town.
You can learn more about Gartland and listen to his music on his website HERE.