Gary Smallwood started performing professionally when he was 16 years old. A popular local band asked him to fill the guitar vacancy left by a leaving member. The other band members were older and did a bit of touring to nearby cities, sometimes rushing him home after a gig just in time to be dropped off at his school bus stop!
Gary started his love of music by signing up for drums & percussion classes in the 5th grade and continued to play them through high school. By the time he reached 7th grade, he became interested in the bass guitar. His parents bought him a Fender bass & amp that Christmas and he taught himself to play using his favorite records such as The Beatles, Sly & the Family Stone and others as influences. At age 15 he saw a late night film entitled “A Film About Jimi Hendrix”…from then on it was all about guitar! Then he received the album “Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs” by Derek & The Dominoes where he maintains “that’s where I learned all my licks”. He is also self-taught on guitar using Hendrix, Clapton, Trower, Marino & Van Halen as influences, to name a few.
Gary has shared the stage with or supported such great acts as Robin Trower, Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush, the late great Jeff Healey, Elliott Easton(the Cars), Marshall Tucker Band, Molly Hatchet, The Outlaws, Johnny Winter, Craig & Patrick Fuller(Pure Prairie League), Bill Payne(Little Feat),Bret Michaels, Catfish Hodge, Michael Fath, Mary Ann Redmond and many more. His guitar playing, both electric and acoustic has been highly sought after by musicians as well as the public. He has loaned his talents to many bands as a ‘sideman’ and in the studio on numerous recording projects, including Genghis Angus’ “Twelve Days”, Jim Asbell’s “Man Overbored”, Leesburg Community Church’s “Give Me Jesus”, Stilson Greene’s “Young Lions”, Prescott Engle’s “House Without Love”, Bret Michaels’ “Rock My World”, “Built For Comfort” & “Jammin’ With Friends” and countless other demo recordings.
Gary’s style of music consists of Classic Rock, Country Rock, soulful Blues Rock or what he likes to call: “flat out guitar-driven rural contemporary music”…he has a great appreciation for all types of music and sometimes will incorporate soul, R&B, funk, country and ‘show tunes’ into his playing. Gary also gives back to the community by playing shows for numerous benefits and charities throughout the region. He is a well respected and hard working musician, playing 200+ shows a year.