Wendy Jean Garrison, a musician from early childhood, learned how to play slide guitar in Mississippi. Her first teacher Walter Liniger, was recording with renowned bluesman James "Son" Thomas at the time. Garrison is profiled on the Mississippi Arts Commissions Folk life and folk artists directory as a red clay hills slide guitarist. The directory recognizes artists who have learned their craft through informal channels, are practicing an art typical of their own community, and are actively performing and creating new works.
She honed her signature sound during her apprenticeship under bluesman Bill Howl-N-Madd Perry. Her reflections on the apprenticeship "Quite a Lesson" were published in Mississippi Folklife Magazine.
A favorite around north Mississippi, her "otherworldly" playing has a sound like gospel prayer or a black snake curse, and invokes both The River and the Hill Country. She gets her unique sound by running an acoustic 6-string through a Fender Blues Master Deluxe amp or a Roland AC 90. She plays with a steel wrench socket for a slide. Garrison regularly gigs around the region and has performed the King Biscuit Blues Festival as a street musician; Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale; the famed North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic, the RL Boyce Picnic, the Oxford Blues Festival, the B.B King Museum, and other festivals and venues, as well as being featured in a number of articles, and making radio and television appearances.
In addition, she brings slide guitar into the schools, the boys and girls clubs, and libraries through the Mississippi Humanities Council Speakers Bureau, and through special engagements at University summer kids camps .
photo credit: Lindsay Pace