SANTA FE, N.M. – Art takes many forms; so does the career of Gary Farmer. He began in music, took a turn to acting, publishing, production of television and radio, and recently adopted a renewed fervor for music.
A youngster in the 1960s, he idolized blues musicians such as Stevie Wonder and Native guitarist Jesse Ed Davis. He began playing the harmonica in college, but over the course of 30 years, film and stage acting competed with his music. Still he managed to weave his harmonica into his film roles in “Powwow Highway” and “Henry and Verlin.”
He now casts himself regularly as lead of Gary Farmer and the Troublemakers, a four-piece harmonica-based blues band. The Troublemakers rose out of an opportunity to play at the National Museum of the American Indian Film Festival in Santa Fe, N.M. in 2005.
Farmer, member of the Cayuga of the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy, was born on the Six Nations Reserve in Ontario, Canada.
He became fond of the Southwest as many of his successful films were shot in the region including “Powwow Highway,” “Dead Man” with Johnny Depp, and the Tony Hillerman PBS series. Ultimately, a migration to the Southwest felt right – but only after he helped launch renowned national organizations such as Aboriginal Voices magazine, Aboriginal Peoples Television Network and Aboriginal Voices Radio Network in his native Canada. He settled in New Mexico five years ago.
Playing gigs nationally now takes Farmer from the clubs of Santa Fe to stages on the east and West Coasts and everywhere in between. The band’s just-released second CD, “Lovesick Blues,” was recorded at Jono Manson Studios and Frogville Records. The band will host a CD release party May 13 at Evangelo’s Cocktail Lounge, 200 W. San Francisco, in Santa Fe. The Troublemakers’ first CD, “Love Songs and Other Issues,” was released in 2007.
Farmer’s harmonica and vocals are accompanied by Logan Nix on drums, John Longbow on bass and Jaime Bird Yellowhorse on guitar. For tour dates and music samples, visit www.sonicbids.com/GaryFarmerandtheTroublemakers or the band’s Myspace page.