Sharing a laugh with Pete Stroud on bass. Such a great player, and a cool dude to share the stage with, as well as a beer or two. He's played with so many of my heros; Peter Green, John Mayall, and Buddy Whittington.
NZ returned to normality in late June, although still keeping the borders tightly closed. My regular local, The Barrel Room in Tauranga, had its first post-lockdown gig on 4th July, featuring my blues band, the MGB. Trevor Braunias is on guitar - and vocals in this picture. Warren Houston is on drums. It was a thrill to have my good friend, and pro bass player, Pete Stroud sit in on bass with us. Pete lives in England and got stuck here when the borders closed! He returns to the UK at the end of the month.
My new CD is now available in store at Tower Records, Tokyo. It's huge - the Shibuya store is one of the biggest music retail outlets in the world, all nine stories of it! You can find their web site here: Tower Records.
My CD, "Don't Mind The Rain", is released in Japan this month, by Blues & Soul Music Records. You can find their web site here: BSMF Records.
From my latest CD, a video featuring the title track, "Don't Mind The Rain". It has a laid back, New Zealand Summer feel, filmed mostly on Papamoa Beach, where I live. The lovely lead guitar is by Shun Kikuta, in Tokyo. You can find the video here: Youtube.
New Zealand is still in partial lock-down because of the Covid-19 virus. So there are no gigs or festivals anywhere in the country. I've had fun putting this video together with Lee in Tokyo, Paul in England, and Nigel in New Zealand. It's the song "The Cool Boogie Woogie" from my latest CD. You can find it here: Youtube.
"Don't Mind the Rain" was over 14 months in the making, including recording in Tokyo with Shun Kikuta and Lee Kanehira, plus Paul Garner from the UK. It's a mixture of acoustic string band and electric band material, mostly originals. You can mail order physical CDs and purchase full CD downloads from Bandcamp..
This year was our third visit to Hamilton's 2 week long annual arts festival. We had a lot of fun on this stage beside the lake. This used to be called the "Turtle Lake" stage, being on the edge of Turtle Lake, but for some strange reason this year it became the "Stage of Enlightnement". Some hippie stuff going on there!. We enlightened them with Charlie Patton, Bo Carter, Furry Lewis, Howling Wolf - and our own original songs!
A lot of fun with Neil Billington on harmonica at one of NZ's iconic venues, The Mussel Inn in Golden Bay. A full house danced and partied for the whole show!
The Bay City Ramblers playing a sold out a show in Katikati (L to R) Nigel Masters (bass), Derek Jacombs (mandolin), Mike Garner (guitar), Robbie Lavën (washboard).
Jamming with a bunch of old muso friends at Jack Dusty's, Tauranga. (L to R) Grant Bullot (harmonica), Tony Crichton (bass), Jeff Baker (drums), Stewart Martin (guitar), and me. Tony Chriton was bass palyer with me in The Blues Healers, way back in the 1990s!
Opening for Australian guitar wizard, Nick Charles
Sitting in on a telecaster with some of the finest Tokyo blues players; Goboh Suzuki on drums and Atsuto Tame Shoji on guitar. Crawfish is a lovely basement venue in Akasaka, Tokyo
With Lee Kanehira, such a fine barrel house boogie piano player, laying down three tracks as a guest on my next CD
Playing a Gretsch resonator guitar for the Hiroshima blues crowd, in a cool live venue - Ontama.
mid winter, but warm enough to perform in the beer garden. Picture by Gary Harvey
Aboard the Lakeland Queen, a paddle steamer on Lake Rotorua, as a special event - a "Blues Cruise" at the Bay of Plenty Blues Festival, in Rotorua last weekend. Warren Houston on drums, Nigel masters on bass and special guest, Andy Phillips from Melbourne, joining in on lead guitar. It was a lot of fun with lots of dancing!
Easter Monday gig with Neil Billington on harmonica - a cruisy, bluesy afternoon and dancers, young and old!
Nice little set with Robbie Laven at Katikati Folk club, now located in the town's new community theatre. Lovely venue and a very appreciative audience.
with my oldest fan - 85 and still dancing through a three hour show!
Having a laugh with the audience at this cool little festival ...
Special concert at Jack Dusty's Ale House in Tauranga, featuring (L-R); Robbie Laven (sax), Paul Garner (guitar), Warren Houston (drums), Liam Ryan (keys), Mike Garner (guitar, harmonica), Stuart Lawrence (bass). Wonderful to share a gig with such stellar musicians!
With Paul Garner; a special concert at Jack Dusty's Ale House in Tauranga. A great session of electric Chicago blues with the Mike Garner band and guest musicians. Paul, briefly home for Christmas, now lives in the UK and has become one of London's best blues guitarists.
With Neil Billington at DeVille in Nelson. A full house and dancing all night. What a fine venue - and a great crowd!
The Mike Garner Band, playing to a full house at Tauranga venue - The Entertainer's Club - lot's of fun and dancing to a full Chicago blues programme.
The Mike Garner Band, featuring Neil Billington on harmonica - introducing a new band member - Trevor Braunias on lead guitar. Also featuring my first outing with a new Godin archtop guitar - a lovely instrument.
Visiting friends in the far south of France - playing a borrowed Applause
With the fabulous Steve Weston and the Bluesonics, and my son Paul Garner on guitar, at Maidstone in Kent.
Mike caught up with old friends, musicians from his years in Southampton; L - R = John Holmes, Dave 'Mo' Thomas, Mike, Pete Harris.
Mike spent a few days in Japan in May 2018 and sat in with old friends' band in Tokyo.
The Mike Garner website has been given a brand new look. Like the Monarch butterfly, above, it had a long pupation, and is now free to fly! The site is now readable on a varity of devices; PCs, tablets and phones.
On Easter Saturday, Mike and Robbie played to a packed house in the Barrel Room. The enthusiastic audience didn't want to let them go at the end of the show!
Mike and Robbie appeared at the inaugural festival, along with Paul Ubana Jones, Darren Watson, The Raving Mavens and Neil Billington. We did two separate sets and closed our show with the audience singing along to Mike's song "Leaving Blues (All Around The World)" from his "Cad's Alley" CD. The audience demanded more!Read more
It was a pleasure to be invited back to this annual festival. Mike has played here many times before, with bands, small ensembles and as a solo artist. This stage backed on to Hamilton lake, complete with ducks landing and quacking behind. It faced a small amphitheatre, with packed crowds on the tiered steps.
Over the Christmas and New Year holiday in New Zealand, it was lovely as always to have my son, Paul Garner, here with me from England. I don't usually do gigs during the holidays, but we did sit in with old friends, Derek Jacombs, Nigel Masters, and Robbie Laven during their gig at Omokoroa Boat Club. A lot of fun jamming with Paul - he is such a fine guitar player. He's now back in the UK where he plays guitar for West Weston's "Bluesonics" and his own band, of course, the Paul Garner Band.Read more
Mike took a 4-piece group to the Norfolk Island Jazz Festival in December 2016. Feturing Derek Jacombs, Nigel Masters and Robbie Laven, they brought pre-war blues and ragtime to this iconic festival on the island midway between Australia and New Zealand. One of the stages was floodlit underneath amongst the roots of an enormous banyan tree, as in the image, above.
Mike and Neil flew to Tokyo in October for a two day festival hosted by radio celebrity Pater Barakan. We shared a dressing room with Jack Broadbent, and the headliner was Sonny Landreth. Cool to hang out with Sonny; Neil sat in with him and the band for the final show of the festival. There were some excellent Japanese acts, too, such as Yuji Hamaguchi, a hot acoustic slide player.Read more