By Steve Rider | Photo by Derek Brad
Eric Gales was born on born October 29, 1974, in Memphis, Tennessee into a musical family. His older siblings, Eugene and Manuel, were guitar players themselves. So, when Eric picked up the guitar at the tender age of four, his brothers immediately started teaching him the licks of guitar greats like B.B. and Albert King, Eric Clapton, and Jimi Hendrix. Eric’s older brother Manuel, who had his own career as a blues-rock guitarist under the name “Little Jimmy King”, was left handed and Eric learned to play guitar on a right-handed instrument held in the left-hand position. When asked about this later in life, he would reply that it was how he started and how the instrument made sense to him, so he never departed from that very unorthodox style. Despite this, even when under the tutelage of his older siblings, Eric Gales was considered to be a prodigy. He went on to blend his influences of blues, rock, and soul into a personal style that can range from deeply heartfelt to explosive.
By the time Eric was ten years old, he was participating in guitar competitions, backed by his brother Eugene on bass. In 1990, he and Eugene were signed by Elektra Records and formed the Eric Gales Band with drummer Hubert Crawford. They released the eponymous album the next year, with Picture of a Thousand Faces following in 1993. From there on out, Gales has released an album every couple years, right up to 2014’s Good for Sumthin on Cleopatra Records. Gales has garnered a host of endorsements from big industry names, such as Dunlop, and even has a signature guitar from Magneto Guitars, which was custom made to his specs.
Check out Eric Gales on his Raw Dawg Strat from Magneto Guitars:
The story of Eric Gales is not one some sorted, personal struggle which eclipses his musical talent, but rather that of an accomplished and tireless maker of music. It’s not that he hasn’t led a full life; he’s married and has a daughter and step-daughter. It’s that his life is fully defined by his own music and his many, many contributions to the music of others. His list of collaborations is over twice as long as his list of albums released. He tours, does studio work, and contributes his deeply emotional and spontaneous riffs and licks to enhance his fellow musician’s works. One moment, he’s channeling B.B. King, and the next, he’s flowing seamlessly into Hendrix. He can make you sing. He can make you cry. He can make you dance. Take some time perusing Eric Gales on YouTube and most often you will see that his videos are of live performances. Gales is a man who thrives in the communication of his musical soul with others. He’s a man who can pick up a guitar and instantly bridge the distances between us.
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