Garrison Doles

Garrison Doles

 Orlando, Florida, USA
BandFolkSinger/Songwriter

A savory musical feast of original soul songs. Garrison Doles knows how to put the flavors together; tangy and sweet, salty and tart and satisfying. He entertains with grace and presence, commanding the stage with powerful vocal and instrumental skills. Funny, tender, jangly, cool and inspiring.

Biography

See video at -
http://www.garrisondoles.com

2010 Official Showcase artist - Folk Alliance Region Midwest (FARM) Conference
2010 Official Showcase artist - Southeast Regional Folk Alliance Conference
2009 Official Showcase artist - Southwest Regional Folk Alliance Conference
2009 Fast Pitch Showcase artist - Southeast Regional Folk Alliance Conference

Songwriting Competitions:

2011 Songwriter Serenade Songwriting Contest 2nd place
2010 Mid-Atlantic Song Contest Silver Medal
2009 Rose Garden Coffeehouse Performing Songwriter Contest 1st place
2009 Will McLean Folk Festival Songwriting Contest 1st place
2008 Dallas Songwriters Association Contest - Singer/songwriter 1st place
2008 North Carolina Songwriters Co-op Contest 3rd place
2007 Woody Guthrie Song Contest honorable mention
2007 Foundersfest Song Contest finalist
2006 South Florida Folk Festival finalist
2005 South Florida Folk Festival finalist
2004 Gamble Rogers Folk Festival Song Contest 1st place
2003 Gamble Rogers Folk Festival Song Contest 2nd place
2003 Suwannee Springfest Songwriting Contest 1st place

“I’m not foolin' around here. If I walk out on your stage I mean to do some serious damage.”

Garrison has recently won major songwriting competitions in North Carolina, Texas, Florida and Massachusetts and he’s on the move, touring nationally and performing at all the best festivals, coffeehouses and house concerts.

If you call yourself a performing songwriter, then you ought to hold up both ends of the deal. Garrison truly does. He writes powerful songs of all kinds - moving, funny, profound, romantic, light-hearted - and he delivers them with immense skill and unforgettable style and grace. It’s an inspired marriage of artist and material, and it always results in an exciting and entertaining journey for the audience. What Garrison Doles brings is so deep and wide that only your heart is big enough to hold it.

Legendary Crosby, Stills and Nash producer Steve Gursky says:
“Garrison Doles is one of the most talented songwriters and performers I’ve ever worked with. He really knows how to put words and music together in a way that makes the story come alive. And he totally fills the role of performing songwriter. Great singer, guitar wizard and truly entertaining storyteller. Never pass up a chance to see this master at work.”

Garrison’s latest CD release, Whenever I’m with You, showcases some of the range and depth of his songwriting. Like a great, live set it moves seamlessly through stories poignant, romantic, humorous, raucous, bluesy, sorrowful and inspiring. He brings the full force of a master performer to bear. On this studio release, Garrison joins his evocative voice, guitar and harmonica with the best players in the Southeast and they kick butt. Tom Hurst, Doug Mathews, Tracy Collins, Jim Evans, Chris Nix, Jason Thomas, Lis Williamson and Greg Doles. It’s made to be listened to from start to finish and when you get to the end you’ll be happy to just let it start all over again.

Born in Birmingham, Alabama, Garrison moved to Miami, Florida, at the age of nine - AAAHH!! Culture shock. At about seventeen, he started playing his original songs in coffeehouses in Coconut Grove’s blossoming folk music scene. After the Grove settled down, there were a lot of years of traveling around the southeast playing in bars. It’s a rough life and it finally wore him down, so he stopped doing that and stepped out onto another stage. As a co-founder of Theatre Downtown, an off-off-Broadway style theatre in Orlando, Florida, he produced, acted, directed, designed and wrote for the theatrical stage. It’s all storytelling. In recent years he has built an impressive following, playing at folk festivals, coffeehouses and house concerts. He has four independently released CD’s and tours full-time nationally as a performing songwriter.

Lyrics

Mahalia Jane

Written By: Garrison Doles

Mahalia Jane that dusty road
Runs off into the shadows of the grandfather trees
Sit on the step the broken rail porch
Steam from a jar of sweet honey tea
Steal a moments peace
Take whatever comfort you can find
Another day is paid

I know it’s hard this life not your own
Said here put this on like the clothes of another
And every hour you toil in these fields
Another hour gone and never recovered
Can you steal a moments peace
Can you find a little comfort
Another day is paid

Are they even aware
Of what they’ve taken from you
Scattered your treasure
Among the weeds
To trade you away
Never even know you
Didn’t even care to know you
How could they see who in this world you could be
If you were only free

Mahalia Jane that dusty road
Turns on a better road in about a mile
You’ll bide your time settle these accounts
Leave these fields behind but for a little while
Can you steal a moments peace
Can you even find any comfort at all
And another day is paid

We Give Ourselves Away

Written By: Garrison Doles

We are likely to be lost
And I guess we even know it
And it passes understanding
That we are reckless in this way
And it does not help to know
All the ways we could avoid it
It is a calling of the heart
To give ourselves away
It is a calling of the heart
The terms of our surrender
Come out into the open
Even though we are afraid
We have everything to lose
That we have carefully collected
We lay our armor down
And we give ourselves away

Oh me
Oh no not me
Give myself up to mercy
Can it be
Oh how can it be
In that moment will I find the courage
To give myself away

What are we gonna do
How will we survive
Standing on the ramparts
In careless disarray
Having chosen to be lost
Abandoning our shelter
It is a calling of the heart
To give ourselves away
It is a calling of the heart
The terms of our surrender
Come out into the open
Even though we are afraid
We have everything to lose
That we have carefully protected
We lay our armor down
And we give ourselves away
And we do not count the cost
We just give ourselves away

My Only Ever One

Written By: Garrison Doles

Bordeaux wine upon my lips
She kiss me till I swoon
Her fingers trace across my brow
And I am not the one I was before
She reach down deep inside
And I do not try to hide
I surrender it all

Serenade me with her eyes
The music of her smile
Rock me gently in her arms
Until I know that I am home
She soothes me in a way
That I am bound to say
I have never known before

And all these gifts she freely gives to me
Oh my Sweetheart
My only ever one

Bordeaux wine upon my lips
She kiss me till I swoon
Her fingers trace across my brow
And I am not the fool I was before
She reach down deep inside
And I do not try to hide
I surrender it all

And all these gifts she freely gives to me
Oh my Sweetheart
My only ever one
Oh my Sweetheart
My only ever one
My only ever one
My only ever one

Buddha's Blues

Written By: Garrison Doles

Workin’ for nothing
Payin’ the rent
Feel like you’re stuck in
A truck load of cement
Something is missing
Something you need
If you were cut wide open
You might not bleed
You look around and you just can’t believe
You’re standin’ in the middle of a canyon of lonely desire

These temptations
Are everywhere
Fill up your face with
A cold blank stare
You don’t want it
You want to do without
Then you want it
What’s that about
You look around and you just can’t believe
You’re standin’ in the middle of a canyon of lonely desire

Day after day the same old question
Never an answer
Make you feel like a fool
Could be a case of desperation
If somethin’ doesn’t break you don’t know what you’re gonna do

It’s an enigma
A puzzlement
No solution
Is evident
Where ever you go
Where ever you turn
You can’t put out the fire
You can’t let it burn
You look around and you just can’t believe
You’re standin’ in the middle of a canyon of lonely desire

Redemption

Written By: Garrison Doles

Up on his feet
Trying to get it right
He woke up this morning
Just looking for a way to get it right
Saying here I am, will you take me
Oh break me, make me anew
I’m ready for a little redemption
And I’m looking to you

All of these years lost in this world
Ramblin’ and ramblin’ and trying to find his way in this world
Now he’s standing right here where he never was looking to be
Saying here I am, do you know me
Can you show me a way to be free
Believe I’m ready for whatever redemption is coming to me

Nobody gets through this life without a little compassion
This troubled side of the grave
Now I’m standing right here on your doorstep
Wondering what can you tell me
About how I might ever find a way
To be in this world
To be in this world

Doing what he has to
Trying to get it right
He woke up this morning
Just looking for a way to get it right
Saying here I am, will you take me
Break me, make me anew
I’m ready for my redemption
And I’m looking to you
Saying here I am will you take me
Break me, make me anew
I’m ready for my redemption
Sweet merciful redemption
Oh the healing hand of redemption
Belongs to you

Hard Way To Learn

Written By: Garrison Doles

Boy ain’t quittin’
Got a brand new toy
Offerin’ up the flesh and the blood
Gonna be a free man
Gonna be a bicycle ridin’ boy
Gravel and the asphalt
Tryin’ to wear him down
Curse away these bitter tears
Gonna break that buckin’ bronco
Gonna ride right out of town
He can feel the world is out there
And he wants to take his turn
Time and again
He goes down
I guess I could have told him
It’s a damned hard way to learn

Boy’s just crazy
No sense at all
Ain’t no kind of helpin’ hand
Nobody gonna be there
Nobody gonna catch him when he falls
Not a sign of mercy
Out there all alone
Got to be the long way ‘round
If he’s gonna break that buckin’ bronco
Gonna have to do it on his own
He can feel the world is out there
And he wants to take his turn
Time and again
He goes down
I guess I could have told him
It’s a damned hard way to learn

This Bittersweet Life

Written By: Garrison Doles

Tenderly
These beloved her around you
Gather them
In your embrace
Faithfully
Though the storm surround you
Stand your ground
Lift up your face

It’ll break your heart
All along the way
Measure out your tears
Pay the price
But a broken heart
Is not too much to pay
For savoring the wine
Of this bittersweet life

Joyfully
Let laughter wash right through you
Give yourself
Into its care
Gratefully
Every hour given to you
Offer as a blessing and a prayer

It’ll break your heart
All along the way
Measure out your tears
Pay the price
But a broken heart
Is not too much to pay
For savoring the wine
Of this bittersweet life
Drink deeply the wine
This bittersweet life

I Will Not Be Free Again

Written By: Garrison Doles

I thought freedom was given to me
And I did not have to pay
It was mine just for the taking
And it could not slip away
I let them put these shackles on me
I did not lift a hand
So I have earned this bitter sorrow
And I will not be free again

I gave my freedom for a promise
And O my heart was filled with hope
Kept my eyes upon their smiling faces
So I did not see the dreadful rope
I should have known how they would bind me
Somehow I thought they were my friends
So I have earned this bitter sorrow
And I will not be free again

A thousand generations
Trying to reach the promise land
Now we stumble and we fall here
And I will not be free again

I thought freedom was the ground I walked on
Always be my natural right
I did not know that they could take it from me
I didn't put up any kind of fight
But every day a little more was taken
Just like the waves that wash away the sand
And I have earned this bitter sorrow
And I will not be free again
Yes I have earned this bitter sorrow
And I will not be free again

If America Fails

Written By: Garrison Doles

If America Fails
Garrison Doles©2011
1.
Who will b the hero
Step into the breach
Who will be the champion
Of the innocent and the weak
When tyranny arises
And threatens to prevail
Who will stand against it
If America fails
If America fails
2.
Who’ll rush to the rescue
Along destruction’s path
Who will bring relief
In the terrible aftermath
And when the world is ravaged
Floods and quakes and gales
Who’ll put it back together
If America fails
If America fails
bridge
Never would have imagined
Such a thing could come to pass
Lately I find myself wondering
Have we finally come down to this - at last
3.
Who will be the leader
Of this desperate world
Where will we find courage
In this terrifying world
And when we are beaten down
O woeful heart’s travail
Who then will inspire us
If America fails
If America fails

Lift Somebody Up

Written By: Garrison Doles

Lift Somebody Up
Garrison Doles©2012

Maybe you could lift somebody up today
Pull em up out of that ditch they’re standin in
Change the way their day is going
Change the way their life is going
You could be the difference tween
Quitin or tryin, laughin or cryin, livin or dyin
Think about bein the one to lift somebody up
This ole world can be a terrible grindin machinery
Chopin us up and mashin us down
Reach right in take a hold of somebody
Don’t let go till they’re safe and sound
Nothin but jes you comin to the rescue
Tell you what it’s bound to bless you
This could be your day to lift somebody up
Don’t you remember you were standin there
O and your poor heart was just broken
Don’t you remember how bad you needed anyone
To come and take you in
There’s a hole in this life and we can fall right through
Somebody grab on and pull me back to safety
There’s a hole in this life
Don’t let me fall through
Take my hand
I need some liftin up
O lift me up (4 times)
Maybe you could lift somebody up today
This could be just what you been lookin for
Change the way your day is goin
Change the way your life is goin
This could be the difference tween
Quitin or tryin, laughin or cryin, livin or dyin
O the livin and the dyin
Sure to lift you up
If you lift some body up
Lift some body up
Lift some body up
Lift some body up

Discography

Whenever I'm With You
This Man's Heart
The Night Of Heaven and Earth

Set List

My preference is to do a 45-60 minute set so I can take the audience on an entertaining journey through laughter and tears, romance and inspiration. I am a talented and experienced live performer and I offer only my own original songs and stories. My sets are specifically designed to engage the crowd and are suitable for all ages and all kinds of settings. I can craft shorter sets as the situation requires. I especially enjoy doing a full concert of two sets with an intermission in which I can take the audience through an experience that is fuller, deeper, funnier and more meaningful. I am happy to be an opener and I am comfortable following any act in any venue.