40 Below Blues

by Mike Garner

  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    An all acoustic album featuring Mike Garner on various acoustic and resonator guitars. Additionally, some tracks feature harmonica and fiddle playing, in keeping with this largely pre-war style blues. It was released in New Zealand and Japan in 2016, when Mike appeared at the "LIve Magic" music festival in Tokyo.

    Includes unlimited streaming of 40 Below Blues via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 3 days

      $20 NZD or more 


  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

      $15 NZD


Blues Singer 03:27
Going South 03:15
John Hardy 03:07


Eric Schuurmans; Rootstime, Belgium, Nov 2016

’40 Below Blues’ … is an album with twelve acoustic tracks, a collection of original songs and some covers. It is almost a solo album but Garner has placed his faith on some numbers on harmonica player Neil Billington and violinist Robbie Laven. With this album Garner returns to his original love, the country blues.

Garner opens with an original track ”Went Up On the Mountain”, in which he sings about the feeling of freedom that comes when you escape cities and civilisation. “Brownsville Blues” (a Sleepy John Estes cover) is a track with guitar and violin in the style of blues guitarist Walter E. “Fury” Lewis. ”Blue Is Falling” by Tim O’Brien is a song about depression and ”Still Your Loving Man” is an rearranged original that Garner had recorded as early as in 2003 and to which Neil Billington cleverly adds harmonica colour. The first of two Charlie Patton’s songs, “Jim Lee Blues Pt. 1”, was first recorded in 1929 (”High Sheriff Blues” was recorded 'in 1934 when Patton was imprisoned after a fight). The James Lee is a riverboat and Jim Lee was the founder of a line of boats. Stagolee (or Stackerlee) is thought to have been Jim Lee's grandson.

“Blues Singer”, another original, is a song about Garner’s Beltona Southerner resonator guitar. Brownie McGhee’s”The Way I Feel” shows the big influence on Garner of this folk and blues singer (who worked with harmonica player Sonny Terry). In “Going South” Garner sings about the strong winds that must be defied if you travel to the South Island. ”John Hardy” is a traditional song recorded by Leadbelly among others. Hardy was a real person, hanged in front of a large audience in West Virginia in 1984. Bo Carter was a member of the Mississippi Sheiks. Carter and his brothers first learned music from their father, the violinist Henderson Chatmon. ”How Can It Be” is one of his love songs. The closing track ”Your Biscuits Are Big Enough For Me” is another Bo Carter cover. The lyrics are especially interesting because Garner shows great understanding of the brutal exploration of sexuality hidden in the lyrical allusions.

Mike Garner brings with his album ’40 Below Blues’ excellent acoustic blues from a place on the coastline some 40 degrees below the equator. In doing so he confirms that blues music connects all cultures, even if the performer lives geographically a long way from the origins of the music in the Southern States of the United States.


released October 1, 2016


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Mike Garner Tauranga, New Zealand

Mike Garner is well versed in acoustic blues, ragtime, jug band, Americana and original songs on acoustic resonator guitars. He is also an experienced bandleader and vocalist, fronting a 5-piece electric blues band. He is influenced heavily by the old‐time Mississippi Delta sound, Chicago. ... more

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