Folks in Europe were hip to Larry Garner long before most blues fans in the states. The Baton Rouge guitarist had already toured extensively overseas, with two British albums to his credit, before Verve issued his stunning domestic debut, You Need to Live a Little, in 1995. Rooted in the swamp blues tradition indigenous to his Baton Rouge environs, Garner brings a laudable contemporary sensibility and witty composing skills to his craft. Inspired by local swamp bluesmen Silas Hogan and Clarence Edwards, Garner learned how to play guitar from his uncle and a couple of gospel-playing elders. After completing his military service in Korea, he returned to Baton Rouge and embarked on a part-time musical career (he worked at a Dow chemical plant for almost two decades until his recent retirement).
The British JSP label released Garner's first two albums: Double Dues and Too Blues (the latter an ironic slap at an unidentified tin-eared U.S. blues label boss who deemed Garner's demo tape "too blues"). For You Need to Live a Little, Garner delivers creative originals detailing the difficulty of keeping "Four Cars Running" and the universal pain of suffering through "Another Bad Day." He is poised for 21st century blues stardom. Subsequent efforts include 1998's Standing Room Only, 1999's Baton Rouge, and 2000's Once Upon the Blues. ~ Bill Dahl