Lydia Garrison sings, writes songs, and plays the fiddle, banjo, and guitar.
Lydia was bitten by the music bug as a kid. Her mother Gay Garrison had a passion for Cajun and Zydeco music and dance which took the family to many regional music festivals, and as far as Louisiana. Lydia started learning violin at school at age 8, but after three months when the students had to learn to read music, it stopped being fun and Lydia promptly quit with no regrets. This was not the feel of the music she loved...
Lydia sang along to every tape Gay introduced to the family car stereo, and soon became the self-designated DJ, blasting Donna the Buffalo, Keith Frank, Emmy Lou Harris, and CJ Chenier among many others, on jaunts of any length in the car. The family was yielding, even as the volume and repetition increased....
After starting out on the Cajun triangle to sit in with Gay's Cajun band, Lydia began learning Old Time banjo and fiddle with Richie Stearns, and Cajun fiddle with Susi Mills. In the summer of '98 Lydia studied Cajun fiddle at the Augusta Heritage Center music camp, and Gay took the Zydeco accordion class. It was on this trip that Gay taught Lydia the guitar so she could back up Gay's fledgling Zydeco accordion playing. The guitar got Lydia started with writing songs, which were unknowingly influenced by The Heartbeats, Donna the Buffalo, Richie & Jennie Stearns, Johnny Cash and many others. Banjo teacher Richie Stearns got Lydia’s first band together, the Darling Clementines, who won “Best Up and Coming Band” at the Mt. Airy Fiddlers’ Convention in 1999. Also that year, Lydia won the youth Old Time banjo competition at the Appalachian Stringband Music Festival (“Clifftop”).
In college, Lydia was fortunate to do a musical study abroad in Bamako, Mali (West Africa) where she studied the Jeli Ngoni- a great great grandmother of the American banjo- with Benke Diabate. Malian Jeli (griot) music had long amazed her, after hearing it at the GrassRoots Festival, and she continued to be mystified by its intricacy and power while up close in Mali. Lydia learned some tunes and technique on the Ngoni Juru Nani (four string ngoni), which has trickled into her banjo playing.
Lydia has played with several Ithaca, NY area bands over the years, such as the Hogwashers and Bayou Road Krewe. She toured in the U.S. and Europe with the Turtle Duhks, a trio which released their debut album "True Lover" on Sugar Hill Records.
Currently Lydia plays in a band called Home Remedy with bandmate Rosie Newton, the Turtle Duhks with Leonard Podolak and Jordan McConnell, and JoyRide with her husband Joe Damiano. She is also fortunate to play from time to time with her longtime friend and musical inspiration, Mohawk singer songwriter Bear Fox.
See Lydia play:
JoyRide: August 30th, 3017 from 5-7pm at Stick & Stone Farm (1605 Trumansburg Rd, Ithaca, NY). This is a benefit for the Healthy Food For All program, which provides vegetable CSA shares to low income families around Ithaca, NY.
- Bound for Glory (Radio Show) date TBA
- Home Remedy at the Winter Hoot Festival (http://www.homeofthehoot.com/winter/) Feb 3, 4, 5 2017 Show details TBA. Address: The Ashokan Center, 477 Beaverkill Rd, Olivebridge, NY.