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Gibson Garage Marks One-Year Anniversary with Epic Week-Long Live Music Celebration

by Rich and Laura Lynch

James "JC" Curleigh is the President & CEO of Gibson Brands, Inc. He has served in this position since taking the helm of the company in 2018 while over-seeing a remarkable rebranding and emergence from a particularly dark period for the storied guitar manufacturer. While his particular job title is an elite and exclusive one, Curleigh said in a speech recognizing the one-year anniversary of the Gibson Garage in downtown Nashville on Thursday, June 9, 2022 that he now views his role as a "noble cause" and moving forward he has a responsibility to the generations and genres that came before him while continuing to fuel the future of music.


Gibson Brands boss James "JC" Curleigh and Gibson Garage boss Jordan Sromek.

Part of the party included The Gibson Garage Fest Week that this year was held simultaneously with CMA Fest. The affair was open to the public and featured intimate, live music performances and other activities such as Q&A's, guitar-playing lessons and opportunities to interact with the iconic guitar brand Gibson and its legendary artists. Plus, there were plenty of prizes to be won.

June 9th was also the birthday of the namesake of the company's most iconic guitars - Les Paul - and it is a true fact the wizard of Waukesha's invention has been nothing short of revolutionary to the world of music. Curleigh described how the company's mission will be to take all of their history and experience and use that to fuel creativity within the music industry - both here in Music City and beyond. He also touched upon the idea of turning obstacles into opportunities which has certainly been the case during JC's tenure at Gibson.


Darius Rucker helped raise some funds for Gibson Gives.

The Gibson Garage hosted a wide range of artists June 08, 2022 through June 12, 2022 which included a number of special events on the 9th. The day started bright and early at nine am for a special announcement, performance, and donation presentation from Darius Rucker and Gibson's philanthropic arm Gibson Gives to the National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) fund for music education. It was also a day of live music.

Later on that night, Mr. Curleigh thanked the Garage staff and their retail manager Jordan Sromek for all their dedication in creating Nashville's most creative retail space. Continuing his speech he also indicated that instruments are important to all genders and to prove his point he introduced his new friend Australian axe slinger Orinathi to the VIP crowd gathered to celebrate one full year of the company's flagship shop located in Cummins Station. Orinathi fronted a power trio-pick-up-band that blew the crowd away when she strapped on a '59 Les Paul for a sizzling version of "Voodoo Child" (Jimi Hendrix).


Orianthi made back-to-back appearances and expressed her growing love for Nashville.

Orinathi was also on hand Wednesday to play and praised her SJ-200 acoustic that bears her name. She is one of a number of women who Gibson is designing guitars for - another recent addition to their signature lineup is the Lzzy Hale Explorerbird. Orinathi mentioned that she was inspired by Elvis and her beautiful red guitar reflects that. She played a number of songs on the acoustic that touched upon bad relationships.

Thursday's industry gathering kicked off with a bold and bluesy set by Kirk Fletcher, then the aforementioned Orinathi followed by the headliner - The Gibson All Star Band. The group consisted of Gibson Brand President - Cesar Gueikian, lead singer, guitarist and rising star Jared James Nichols, bass player Rex Brown (Pantera) and Snake Sabo (Skid Row).They presented a hard and heavy set of music featuring tunes from AC/DC, Thin Lizzy and more.


The hottest show of the week featured Marcus King and Drew Smithers.

Another highlight of the Gibson Garage Fest Week was an appearance by Marcus King on Saturday. There was a good turnout for his 4 pm slot. Marcus was joined by Drew Smithers (formally of the band Bishop Gun). King played covers and tracks from his Grammy nominated album - El Dorado. Marcus chatted between some songs - declaring that Drew was a purist when it comes to guitars whereas King had to avoid using the "F word" at the Garage. He also performed music from his next record - Young Blood which should be released August 26th, 2022.

By all accounts the one year anniversary of the Gibson Garage was a success as it paid tribute to the past while looking towards the future. For 128 years, Gibson has shaped sound across generations and genres with guitars that are the most played and revered worldwide. Since its opening, people from around the globe have visited the Gibson Garage to experience live music and explore all that this exceptional destination has to offer such as the Gibson Custom Shop, the Epiphone line, MESA/Boogie amplifiers and more. Folks can also catch a taping of their award-winning Gibson TV series, learn how to play songs from guitar expert Marty Schwartz and see one of a kind, historic instruments at the Gibson Garage.


The Gibson All-Star Band featured Cesar Gueikian; Rex Brown, Snake Sabo and Jared James Nichols.

Related Links: For more information on the GIBSON GARAGE and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Gibson Garage | Gibson Garage Gets Ready to Open Its Doors in Nashville (Part 1) | Gibson Garage Gets Ready to Open Its Doors in Nashville (Part 2)


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