If you have lived in or around Collingwood for any length of time, you no doubt know who Rick Garner is.
Perhaps you knew him as a friendly, helpful face at the former downtown Radio Shack store, or as a music teacher at Blue Mountain Music, or most certainly as a talented musician with various rock bands that we have all enjoyed at south Georgian Bay venues over the past few decades. (anyone else remember how much fun it was to hang out at “Who’s On First?”)
And yes, he’s Aaron’s father!
Now, he is an outstanding photographer, exploring (and conquering) new talents and presenting breathtaking images of South Georgian Bay through the various lenses that capture the world as Rick sees it.
Years ago, I got to see (and hear) a side of Rick that I didn’t know about. Who knew Rick had a passion and a gift to create modern, new age instrumental music?
Project Easy was a five year Canadian Talent Development Initiative launched by Shaw Communications and the former CHAY-FM in Barrie. I was fortunate enough to be the executive producer of this Canada-wide talent search, with an objective to create a library of Canadian soft rock/new age instrumental songs for air play on easy-contemporary radio formats and programs.
The $600,000 recording project was a massive success.
Rick took an interest in what we were doing, and over a couple of conversations, we decided to work together to produce a CD.
The result was an impressive twelve song collection put together by Rick and some of his closest friends from the music business on a CD to be called “Blue Mountain Blue.”
The CD represented a collection of original material featuring Garner’s guitar works.
Rick conveyed the tranquility one experiences surrounded by the Georgian Bay shoreline and Blue Mountain in his music.
While writing and producing Blue Mountain Blue, Rick said it became easy to communicate the pastoral quality that served as the inspiration behind the CD.
“This was done in the same fashion as a painter would re-create the feel of the landscape with a paintbrush.”
Interesting that Rick now finds inspiration not with a paintbrush, but from behind a camera lens.
Blue Mountain Blue was recorded and mixed at Blue Mountain Music in Collingwood and features the talents of many Collingwood and area musicians.
For me, I found it incredible that Rick could step away from rock music to write and perform this kind of music with such ease and excellence.
Blue Mountain Blue became one of the most popular recording efforts of the Shaw Communications/CHAY-FM recording series, enjoying air play on radio stations throughout Canada, the United States, Australia and England.
I remember walking into a meeting in a downtown Montreal radio station with this CD. The station’s programmer loved the music, was even happier that it was all Canadian Content, and immediately added some selections to the station’s playlist.
As we wander through life, situations present themselves that test us and give us cause to re-invent ourselves.
Today, Richard Garner is making music of a different kind, exploring landscape and nature photography.
Like his music, he has taken his new passion to a world class level.
“A lifelong musician, Richard has turned to photography as a creative outlet, following the artistic motto of “passion, patience, & persistence” as a guide to finding artistic excellence.”
–quote taken from Richard Garner’s squarespace.com web site–
Visitors to Whiskylicious in Collingwood will be able to enjoy an inside look at the Collingwood Distillery for the first time, thanks to Richard Garner’s photography. It’s the closest you can get to an actual tour of the distillery. Garner’s behind-the-scenes photos provide an intimate visual tour of the way Collingwood Whisky is made at the distillery.
Here is a link to Rick’s most current musical offering: www.madrivermusic.ca