My Interviews - Gary Talley


Musician Spotlight - Gary Talley

©2012 By Bronson Herrmuth

From his Memphis days as a founding member of The Boxtops on, Gary Talley has played guitar with so many incredible artists it would take this whole page just trying to list them all. Guitar player/teacher, artist, songwriter, Gary has had huge success with everything he does, so be sure to check out his web site and be prepared to spend some time. Thousands of shows, hundreds of records, he's one of the best ever. The following is taken from a very cool one on one interview with Gary in January, 2012. Meet Gary Talley:

You can listen to this entire 30 minute interview:

Pt. 1 of 4 (2.7 MB) mp3     Pt. 2 of 4 (2.9 MB) mp3     Pt. 3 of 4 (3.2 MB) mp3     Pt. 4 of 4 (3.2 MB) mp3

Bronson: How old were you when you started playing guitar?
Gary Talley: I started when I was about 9 or 10 years old. I started putting my dad's guitar on my lap and sitting on the couch just playing around with it, but I didn't really get serious about it until I was I guess about 12 or 13, and my dad taught me how to play "You Are My Sunshine". That's when I really started getting serious about it and then I just played every spare moment.

Bronson: How did you become a member of The Boxtops?
Gary Talley: Well actually The Devilles were around, it was one of the local Memphis bands, and their lead singer, it was Ronnie and the Devilles and he went in the army, so they were looking for another singer and they found Alex Chilton, so it was still The Devilles. The keyboard player John Evans called me and said, "We need a guitar player for The Devilles, do you want to do it?" I said, "Sure." So that's how I got in with Alex, and so that group became The Boxtops.

Bronson: Do you prefer playing live or in the studio?
Gary Talley: I really like both of them. It's two different feelings, I mean I wouldn't want to give either one of them up, I really like doing both. There's certain things about each one. I love the interaction with the people when you play live, when you can actually look out there and see people enjoying the music and the camaraderie between people in the band and the interaction, it's really a lot of fun. But in the studio, the same thing. Of course it's not so much this way anymore, but when you get a whole rhythm section in there and you're creating something together, it's a lot like playing live because the musicians are listening to each other and communicating. You know you may have a lot of input from the producer or you might have very little, but it's still the interplay between the musicians and the song and the artist and just getting that magical thing happening.

Bronson: When did you start teaching guitar?
Gary Talley: I was teaching a little bit even when I was in the Boxtops. I would teach some of my friends, and then when I was in Atlanta I did some teaching too. But when I got to Nashville in '81, and I started writing songs on a more serious level, I realized that a lot of songwriters didn't know some pretty basic stuff about guitar playing, and so I started specializing in teaching guitar to songwriters. I guess in about '83, I really stepped up the teaching, so I made a DVD called "Guitar Playing For Songwriters", that's geared towards songwriters because it focuses on chords and chord progressions and the number system and rhythm patterns and how to structure a song. Everything except lead playing, it doesn't talk about lead guitar at all. It's rhythms and chords and how they go together. The songwriting aspect of it, I really started getting more serious about writing songs when I moved to Nashville because that's what everybody does (laughing). So I co-wrote this song called "Flying Colors" with Kim Morrison that turned out to be the first song on Keith Whitley's, Don't Close Your Eyes album, then I got a T.G. Shepard cut and a few more. I haven't had my big country hit yet, but I've gotten cuts with country artists and blues artists and some of them have been on Grammy winning albums. I'm still writing but playing and teaching takes up more of my time than writing does.

Visit Gary's website at

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