“He’s a rare talent, and he’s still just a kid. Compared to a lot that’s going on in Nashville these days, he puts the ‘music’ in Music City.” – Rick Moore, Music News Nashville
Anyone who has ever heard 17 year old Gareth Laffely play flute knows that his performances flow outward like ripples on the water. As he enchants his audience, he also educates and challenges them in the hope that they will become the change he wishes to see in the world.
As Galletin News reporter April Stillwell writes, “Music was in his bones from the moment he could walk.” At age four, Gareth’s talent rippled outward when he learned to play the drums, and it continued expanding as, at age five, he began composing on the piano. His piece “Shiloh,” composed when he was eleven, was recorded by the Nashville Suzuki Players and received national radio play in the U.S., and the next year, at age twelve, he became one of the youngest members of BMI, the largest music rights organization in the U.S. Now seventeen, he remains the youngest member of The Recording Academy’s Nashville Chapter.
Gareth’s deep interest in his Native American heritage (he is Mi’kmaq and Cree) intersected with his musical talent when, at thirteen, he began teaching himself to play the Native American flute. His lack of formal training on the instrument would turn out to be the very thing that created yet another ripple. It allowed him the freedom to experiment with the instrument in a way that would astound more experienced players and provide him with his signature sound – a mix of traditional sound and modern edge which, according to Chicago music critic, William Kelly Milionis, “combines the spiritual and healing influences of the Native American flute with the edge of Ian Anderson.”
By 2013, Gareth had written and recorded his debut album, The Journey, with GRAMMY nominated songwriter/Dove Award producer, Robert White Johnson (Celine Dion, the Beach Boys, Lynyrd Skynyrd). In 2014 he received the Rising Star Award, and was a two-time NAMMY Award nominee.
In her review, April Stillwater wrote, “Distinguished and polished, Gareth illustrates a deep soul in his music. Incorporating an ancient instrument (Native American Flute), with a mix of pop and light rock, Gareth’s style is one that has yet to be done.”
As a gifted musician and a rising star, it would have been easy for Gareth to focus all of his
attention on his music, instead he sent out a new wave of ripples when he wrote and recorded the song “This Time” to be used as the anthem for the anti-bullying campaign that he brings to K-12 schools. He combines the message of the song with a challenge for students to get involved with causes that help make their communities a better place.
Native American WWKB/ESPN radio host, John Kane commented that, “The challenges of our youth are particularly troubling and having them addressed by young artists like Gareth is exactly what Native people need.” In addition to being a vocal supporter of youth issues, he supports his own call for community involvement by volunteering his time and musical talents with a local hospice facility.
Gareth’s newest ripple is the release of Sky Before A Storm, an album that is bound to make waves with songs like “Regen’s Song” which features 56th Annual Grammy Award-winning New Age pianist Laura Sullivan, and is a tribute to twelve-year-old Regen Morris who lost his battle with cancer on Christmas Day in 2013; “The Journey” a song that honors the spirits of those who lost their lives on the Trail of Tears after the 1830 Indian Removal Act was issued; and the title track “Sky Before a Storm,” on which Gareth plays a haunting Celtic flute as he pays homage to the Edgar Allen Poe poem, “Annabel Lee.”
This album is yet another example of the ever expanding, always reaching talents of a young musician who, as owner of 2 Bears Flutes of Maine, Tony Francis declares, “… knows no boundaries and will take the flute to heights no one has thought of yet.”
Tour Dates Announced to Support New Album
SEPTEMBER 12 – Wilson’s Music Store, Hendersonville, TN
SEPTEMBER 17 – Hospice Memorial Service, Gallatin, TN
OCTOBER 3 – Racoon Mountain Caverns, Chattanooga, TN
OCTOBER 16 -18 – Long Hunter State Park, Nashville, TN
OCTOBER 23-24 – Red Clay State Park, Cleveland, TN
More Dates To Follow!