“His Little Walter-inspired harmonica work can send shivers down your spine, and there is as much distinction in his vocals and songwriting, too. Gartland suffuses his originals with spry curiosity and world weariness…He never rests musically striving for reconciliation of happiness and heartache at his own measured pace”
- Frank-John Hadley, DownBeat Magazine 4 stars (out of 4
This all started when Tim was 13 and saw Muddy Waters in concert in his home state of Ohio. It proved to be a life-changing experience that would inspire Tim to learn the blues on the harmonica and begin his musical journey. Tim soon began playing in bands and learning the craft of writing and playing roots/blues music on acoustic guitar.
Upon moving to Chicago after graduating college, Tim immersed himself in the Chicago roots/blues scene. He studied with famed harmonica player Jerry Portnoy (Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton) and played with such greats as Bo Diddley, Carey Bell, Big Jack Johnson, and Pinetop Perkins. He has been deeply influenced by the “greats” – Little Walter for his harp playing, Ray Charles for his interpretation of a song, Willie Dixon for his songwriting.
As Tim gained a more in-depth knowledge of songwriting, he came to understand that if roots/blues music was going to stay relevant in today’s world, the songs had to tackle contemporary subjects. “The blues is essentially a genre in which the singer is having a cathartic experience. If you write about themes that are meaningful to your experience, you will create something new,” says Gartland.
After moving to Boston in 1989, Tim became a key player in the Boston blues circuit. In 1998, he was a finalist in the Boston Blues Challenge Competition. He made frequent appearances at regional and national blues festivals as well as prestigious guest artist appearances with the top tier musicians in this talent-rich area.
Tim embarked on his solo recording career with the release of his first album in 2011,“Looking Into the Sun". The Boston Globe declared that “the bluesman is a true triple-threat performer, equally accomplished as an emotive vocalist, eloquent harmonica player, and evocative songwriter”. Also in 2011, Gartland became a published author, writing an instructional book for the harmonica, “The Talking Harmonica”.
He released his second album "Million Stars" to critical acclaim in 2014. Living Blues Magazine wrote “…he has developed into a skilled song writer…his reputation of a superb harmonica player is well-justified…His vocals convey a rich tone and texture…with a richness and resonance that is thrilling throughout”.
Tim relocated to Nashville, TN in 2015. He became an active member of the Nashville Songwriters Association and was named to their "ones to watch list". He is now actively playing, recording and writing in Music City. In 2017 he was invited to perform at the prestigious Harmonica Blues Summit in Nashville.
His album "If You Want A Good Woman" (2017) reached #1 on the blues charts on Air Play Direct. Rambles Music wrote “It is as if he’s dug down through all blues’ roots rabbit holes and found a way to keep the music’s spirit intact and yet let it breath afresh, in a manner of one who is at once a committed carrier of the tradition and a subtle, transformer of it”.
Tim released his fourth solo album, “Satisfied” in 2019. The ten original songs on the album, blending blues/soul/roots rock and country, were all written or co-written by Tim himself. The prestigious Downbeat Magazine wrote,“His Little Walter-inspired harmonica work can send shivers down your spine, and there is as much distinction in his vocals and songwriting too. Gartland suffuses his originals with spry curiosity and world weariness…He never rests musically striving for reconciliation of happiness and heartache at his own measured pace”.
In 2021, Tim released a songbook entitled “50 Best Songs” with lyrics and music to his original songs. He continued to actively perform and record his original music throughout the United States. His song “Don’t Make More Trouble” was featured on the Nashville affiliate of NBC as part of a story on the rise of the crime rate in the city and across the country.
Tim released his fifth solo album in 2022 entitled “Truth”. Music writers from all over the world wrote glowing reviews. Tahoe On Stage; "…Truth is one of the top roots and blues recordings of 2022." The Nashville Scene wrote “Gartland shows he is a clever and talented songwriter, a skilled harp player and a soulful vocalist. And that’s the truth”.
“Truth” was also a hit record on radio airwaves, reaching #9 on the United States contemporary blues charts. It reached #5 on the Tennessee root’s radio charts. It remained on the charts for over 4 months, one of the longest runs of any artist that year.
Tim continues to tour in support of "Truth", write songs and collaborate on session work .