Johnny Garcia has been playing guitar with Trisha Yearwood since 1991 and is also her music director. Add Garth Brooks to his resume in 2000, and he’s been on some of the biggest stages in cCountry music for the last 20 plus years. Johnny is also a songwriter, studio owner, producer and publisher. The following is taken from a 30 minute30-minute interview in his Nashville studio on July 21, 2002. Meet Johnny Garcia:
Bronson: Where are you from originally?
Johnny: I am from a little town in South Texas called Weslaco, TX. It’s about 5 miles north of the Mexican border, way down south between Arlington, TexasX and McAllen, TexasX. It’s called the Rio Grande Valley. That’s where I’m from, and I’ve been in Nashville for 22 years now.
Bronson: How old were you when you first started playing music?
Johnny: Well I’m the youngest in a family of 3 brothers, and my older brothers are guitar players as well and my dad was a guitar player, so I must have been 2 or 3 years old when I started fooling around with guitars. There were just guitars all over the house.
Bronson: So basically they taught you?
Johnny: My oldest brother Simon, he’s the one that kinda took me a little more under his wing and so forth, and he just taught me a few fundamental things and he said, “Yyou better run with this stuff from here and grow.” I think I was maybe 13 or 14 years old. He bought me my first real electric guitar and a Peavey amp that was bigger then I was (laughing). So yeah, he was very instrumental in helping me out when I was a kid.
Bronson: You’ve been in Nashville since 1991 when you got the gig with Trisha Yearwood?
Johnny: Yeah, I came and auditioned. I flew out here on a Sunday and auditioned on Monday morning at 8:00 a.m., which is unheard of that artists and musicians do anything at that time of day. I think they had two2 full days of auditions, 30- minute slots each guitar player, and on the second day they called me to come back in because they couldn’t make up their mind between me and an amazing guitar player named Kenny Kramer. I got recommended to the gig because Trisha’s bass player knew me from back in Texas, and I got the gig.
Bronson: What kind of guitar do you play?
Johnny: I guess my favorite one through all the years is a ’62 Fender Strat. I also have a ’69 Tele that I like a whole lot, but I have all the guitars just because in the studio world especially you need to be armed with everything, from Gretsh’s to Gibson’s and Fender’s, depending on what’s called for.
Bronson: With Trisha, do you play on any of her recordings or just live shows?
Johnny: I’ve played on many of her records. She’s in the middle of doing a record right now. I haven’t heard any of the tracks., I haven’t played yet on this one. Garth Brooks is co-producing this record so he’s got mainly his camp from his recording world that recorded every one of his records in there. They’re all friends of mine, they’re amazing players so I’m expecting just an amazing record. But yeah, I’ve played on a lot of her records.
Bronson: How do you like playing on TV?
Johnny: Well with Trisha, we have done a lot of big TV throughout all her career. A lot of those things have been either award shows or like late night shows or morning shows. The Tonight Show, Lettermaen, you name it., Good Morning America, all that stuff. Especially when there’s a new record that’s fixing to be released you go out there and do a lot of promotion so you get on TV all over the place. Every time we’ve ever done television, we’ve always played live. We play for real, we sing for real, we don’t lip- synch anything, and that’s very much by design by her and me. I’m her music director and we always want to do it live and for real, and about 20 or 30 seconds before we hit, I go, “Why do we do this to ourselves?” (laughing) But it’s great because there’s millions of people watching, and boy, you better do this right.
Musician Spotlight – Johnny Garcia
2012 bBy Bronson Herrmuth,
(Author of 100 Miles To A Record Deal)