|Gary Ray Harvey may be considered
a “jack of all trades” in the music industry... one that has done and seen
it all. A professional musician for over 20 years, Harvey has performed
and studied with some of the most well known individuals and groups on
the planet. Currently, Harvey tours with Jim Morris & The Big Bamboo
A native of Amarillo, Texas, Harvey
first laid his hands on the guitar at the age of 3, and after only a few
short years, decided this instrument would be his destiny. By the age of
14, Harvey was not only listening to a variety of music by legends from
Elvis Presley to Merle Haggard, he was playing it... playing and producing
his first professional gig at 15 years old.
A man of self-ambition, Harvey was
successfully managing a grocery story at 17 years old, but the calling
of music was never far away. Hitting the road to pursue a professional
music career, Harvey realized that living in Texas he would have to master
Country & Western music... diligently studying and playing Merle Haggard
and similar Top 40 country music.... Harvey did just that.
Working in a local music store and
DJ-ing dances to make ends meet, Harvey never let his dream go to the wayside.
He soon would enroll in the prestigious Musicians Institute in Hollywood,
California where one basic requirement was to have at least 14 playing
credits. By this time, Harvey had already amassed 128. While at the MI,
Harvey was fortunate enough to study with many legends in the music industry,
one of them being Carl Shroeder who played piano for Frank Sinatra and
who’s famous fingers were shown on the network game show, Name That Tune.
Through The Musicians Institute, Harvey said, “I was exposed to the world
of music, and just how large it was. I was really a very small part of
that world, but the seed was planted to grow.”
Before graduation in 1991, Harvey
continued to perform professionally for several different bands and duos,
and often demonstrated his complete music awareness by playing classical
compositions at museums!
Hired to play guitar by Jimmy Collins,
Harvey left California for New Mexico with Jimmy Collins and The Wild Oats
Band. Playing everywhere throughout the United States, Harvey lists
playing at Buddy Lee’s annual Fourth of July picnic in Nashville as a highlight
of that time. Another highlight would be recording and performing Jimmy
Collins’ hit “I Love Texas” which received considerable radio airplay in
just four days of its release.
Harvey’s proudest moment was the
birth of his son, Trevor Ray, on March 12, 1992. Just two days after his
son was born, Harvey was on stage at Texas Stadium in Arlington, Texas
where he and The Wild Oats Band played for 60,000 screaming fans during
Farm Aid, “I was at the absolute peak of my life. I just had a son two
days before, and now I was playing Farm Aid next to Willie Nelson!”
Soon after, Harvey would be playing
guitar for Bob Hope at the Civic Center in Amarillo, Texas before joining
the Fret Meisters in May of 1993. Though they had regional success and
release of a CD, Harvey was recruited to join The Debbie Burch Band on
their Department of Defense Tour which made stops in Italy, Spain, Greece,
Egypt, Israel, Germany and Turkey.
In 1994, Harvey moved to Las Vegas
where he did a variety of work, playing funk to blues, and soon found himself
in a duo which played at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino. Well studied in
all facets of music, Harvey joined the Polynesian group Hot Lava, where
he was called on to play percussion and sing phonetically.
In December of 1995, Gary Harvey
was hired by the legendary Platters, famous for their hits “Only You,”
“The Great Pretender,” and “Twilight Time.” First hired only temporarily
for a tour of Japan, he soon was offered a full-time position, which he
continued in for most of a decade.
In addition to his work with Jim
Morris, Harvey strives to remain well-rounded in all areas of the music
Whether its playing country music
or ‘oldies’ hits by The Platters, to 30 or 30,000 fans, Gary Harvey has
mastered the guitar and has remained very diversified with his many talents.
He hopes to soon produce his own musical production, and sums up his remarkable
career this way, “First and foremost, I’m a dedicated father. After that,
there’s a world of music I just hope I can continue learning about, and
in the process maybe I can pass some of what I’ve learned on to others.”