B i o g r a p h y
Jerry Giddens is a singer-songwriter, poet, and teacher. He was born on the banks of the Red River, in Shreveport, Louisiana and raised at a crossroads six miles from Ringgold, Louisiana, a small town of 1500 people. His earliest memories of pop music are “the Fats Domino records my older sisters smuggled out of New Orleans where us kids spent many Mardi Gras and summer vacations at my Aunt Nina Ruth’s home.” But his earliest memories of music are those housed at Springhill Baptist Church, a little country church down the road from his home. There, Jerry first sang from the stage, at age six. As a teenager he would direct the church’s youth choir for Sunday services and appearances around North Louisiana. On Saturdays he and a local guitar player would sing Everly Brothers tunes for the new coffee houses springing up in the 60s.
“When I finally escaped that lonely crossroads, I headed for the university and freedom. On many weekends, I would head to New Orleans to see a show at the old Warehouse.” In the late 70s Giddens would relocate to Southern California. He would be a part of the vibrant 1980s and 1990s indie music scene in Los Angeles and the imagination behind Walking Wounded with whom he recorded four records: The New West, Raging Winds of Time, Hard Times, and artificial hearts. The band toured nationally. “We even headlined Tips one TUL night and Better Than Ezra opened. After that we worked with Jack Gretsch at The Howling Wolf. He was always great to us. He would even let my underage cousins from Metairie slip in for the evening. When the band broke up and I began touring solo, Jack was one of my key supporters and I opened shows for Tim McLaughlin, Snooks Eaglin, Dash Rip Rock, and the wonderful Alex Chilton.” Giddens’ discography also includes The Ballad of Gaucho Gil and four solo records: Livin’ Ain’t Easy, The Devil’s Front Door, For Lydia, and little demons.
He left California after a thirty-five year fling with “show business” and returned to Louisiana to take a teaching position at Southern University at New Orleans. “Now, I teach a class at Tulane, Jazz Biography and Storyville. The class is a product of my lifelong love of The City That Care Forgot. I guess like Jimmy Buffet, New Orleans was my Paris.” Giddens has stayed busy in the studio. He has recorded and now released Damn it Abby! with Killeen Foundry, a project with Rod Hodges of The Iguanas. “The sessions with Mark Bingham at Piety Studios were the beginnings of a Jerry Giddens record. John Fohl, Tom Marron, Michael Skinkus, and Spencer Bohren began the sessions. Spencer introduced me to Rod, he brought in the rest of the Iguanas, and we recorded a few more tracks. One of my old fans even commented on the New Orleans influence on the new material. That’s a real source of pride for me.” Today you might catch a rare Killeen Foundry show when Rod is in town and Jerry has begun a residency, of sorts, at The St. Roch Tavern in New Orleans on Tuesday nights. His new cd/record continues the artist’s evolution, with a combination of acoustic and electric sounds that challenge the notions of folk music and as Jim Beal from The San Antonio Express News comments, stomps “all over the line that separates alternative and the mainstream.”