Terry Gillespie

Terry Gillespie performing at a house concert in Haines Junction, Yukon in October 2015.
Terry Gillespie performing at a house concert in Haines Junction, Yukon in October 2015.

In this segment of our program, we present blues man Terry Gillespie from Vankleek Hill, Ontario.

Terry grew up in Michigan in the 1960s. As a teen he passionately longed to immerse himself in the roots of American music. So he would sneak into the bars where Jazz and Blues music was being played – and ultimately this is where he began as a Blues and Roots musician. In these bars and clubs Terry honed his craft by snapping up opportunities to play with legends including Howlin’ Wolf, Buddy Guy and John Lee Hooker.

Terry, now in his late 60’s, is still going strong. He regularly performs throughout Canada and United States. Twice in recent years, he has performed at the Montreal International Jazz Festival; he has recorded two CDs (Big Money (2009) and Brother of The Blues (2006)) and has produced music for others. In early 2012, Terry represented the Ottawa Blues Society at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee.

On October 21, 2015, Terry and his wife Kathy (who is also his booking agent) stopped by for a visit and a house concert in Haines Junction, Yukon.

Here is some music history info for you guitar enthusiasts out there. Terry is playing a National Tri-Cone Resophonic guitar. The resophonic guitar style was invented in 1920s. At the time, amplification hadn’t been invented, but venues – especially silent movie theaters – were getting larger and louder, and instruments couldn’t keep up.

In response, the resophonic guitar with a metal body was invented. The guitar featured three conical aluminum resonators which acoustically amplify the sound. The guitar was now able to produce sufficient volume for larger venues, and to compete with brass instruments.

If you are interested in getting one of those fantastic guitars for yourself, the US company National Reso-Phonic Guitars is still building these for today’s lovers of this style of guitar – if you are a guitar lover with deep pockets, mind you.