‘Raw Dawg’ Eric Gales brings the blues to Fairfield
Eric Gales, who blues lovers know as the Raw Dawg, first picked up a guitar at 4 years old and everyone around him knew right away that he had the skills to be a legend.
His first album came out in 1991 when he was just 16, and throughout his career, he has played with his brothers in different variations of the Eric Gales Band and the Gales Brothers.
In 2017, his album “Middle of the Road” became his biggest charting to date, reaching No. 1 on the iTunes Blues chart and No. 4 on the Billboard Blues chart.
Interestingly, despite Gales being right-handed, he plays his guitar lefty and upside down, with the strings going from high to low, something he learned from his brother and inspired by his uncle, Dempsey Garrett Jr., a guitarist who played with Muddy Waters.
On Nov. 15, Gales will perform at Fairfield Theatre Company’s StageOne, bringing with him his signature Magneto “Raw Dawg” guitar.
Keith Loria: You picked up the guitar at a young age and was almost instantly labeled a prodigy. What do you remember about those early years?
Eric Gales: There was always music around in my mind, so it wasn’t a surprise that it fell into my hands at some point. I started engaging myself and this is what I have always done. I knew early on I could do it.
KL: So, you knew that music was always going to be your path in life?
EG: Honestly, before this became mainstream, I wanted to be an on-the-road truck driver, like my dad was. But things started going and this just happened.
KL: You come from a pretty musical family. How important has your family been to you and your career?
EG: So much. It gave me the foundation of what I do. Very important.
KL: You’re coming back to FTC, a place you have had some great gigs over the years. What can you preview about the show?
EG: It’s going to have high energy, high emotion and a lot of passion. That’s the trademark of all my shows. I never know until show time what I’ll be playing, and I’ve never been disappointed.
KL: Do you have any fond memories of playing in Connecticut?
EG: A long time ago, I played at Toad’s Place (in New Haven), which holds a really special place in my heart. It’s a legendary place and it was a wonderful time. I look forward to anytime I play, and this upcoming show in Connecticut is going to be a good one.
KL: Describe the feeling of being on stage today compared to when you first started.
EG: It’s intense. There’s a lot of energy transferring back and forth, and it’s a wonderful feeling. That’s never changed.
KL: “Middle of the Road” had some of the best critical reviews of your career. How does that make you feel?
EG: It’s an awesome feeling to have something like this happen later in my life. I think that’s due to me getting myself together and taking hold of my life and career again. It’s all going in a positive direction.
KL: Your last album, “Bookends,” came out earlier this year. When do you know it’s time to release new music?
EG: I just try to do something memorable and try to impress myself. If that happens, I know I’ve given it everything I have.
KL: Can we expect some new music anytime soon?
EG: I’m working on some new music now that will come out next year; when, I’m not sure, but it’s going to be a really serious one and should be amazing. I’m living the best life I can right now and trying to keep moving forward in a positive direction.