The hum of a guitar amplifier is drowned out by the bang of a snare drum and the mellow plucks of the bass guitar. Joe Garner tips back a cold beer during band practice at drummer Jesse Hornbeak's house. He strums the first chord on the sunburst Gibson Hummingbird as the drums and bass come in like a steam engine at stride.
Music has always been a part of Garner's life growing up in Centerville, Tenn. His father Charlie Garner played with Grand Ole Opry star Del Reeves and the “Goodtime Charlies.” “He was just the kind of guy that was very full of integrity, not just as a person but as a musician,” Garner says about his father. “To watch him play was really a very special thing. He was a very beautiful kind of person to watch play honky tonk bass.” Though Garner's root run deep in country music, his style, melodies and lyrics could not be further from the current pop-Nashville sound.
Between working two jobs and balancing life at home as a husband, Garner continues to make sense of things through songs. Garner says his regressive country music is not written with a market in mind, like most popular Nashville country. Instead, he delivers messages of societal tensions and relational discord while tipping his hat to legends such as Waylon Jennings and Gram Parsons.
“Songs have an impact on me and whatever goes on in a song is something that speaks to me and people like me. When you have a good melody and can match it up with some ideas, it's just powerful.”
As Garner finishes up his first full-length album and prepares for several Fall tours, he continues to work and pay his dues as a musician progressing outside of the Nashville scene.
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