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Earl Gilliam

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Texas piano and organ ace Earl Gilliam started playing piano at the local Baptist church when he was ten years old, and by the time he was 17, he was fronting his own blues band. He moved to Houston from his native Tomball when he was 19, quickly becoming a sought-after sideman, eventually playing with Albert Collins, Gatemouth Brown, Johnny Copeland, and others, as well as cutting several singles with the Sarge, Ivory Twist, and Going Upstairs imprints in the 1950s. Gilliam started playing with Joe "Guitar" Hughes in the 1980s, eventually appearing on three CDs with him. Following Hughes' death, Gilliam, now back in his hometown of Tomball, started hosting regular jam sessions in his garage (which he called "the doghouse"), and eventually hooked up with former Duke-Peacock session guitarist I.J. Gosey, whose jazzy style matched well with Gilliam's own Jimmy Smith-like organ style. An impressive debut album of soulful jazz and blues, Texas Doghouse Blues, was released on Dialtone in 2005. ~ Steve Leggett

Years Active:

'50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s