"...Small's guitar playing so reminiscent of Carlos Santana it's stunning. In fact it wouldn't be unfair to say Small could become the Santana of Native American music-translating his history through myriad musical forms in a way that speaks on several levels."
John Graham, Willamette Week, July 18th, 2001
Gary Small is an accomplished guitarist and vocalist, raised in the wilds of Montana and Wyoming now residing in Portland, OR. Small is a member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe whose reservation resides in remote Southeast Montana to the east of the Little Bighorn Battlefield, (Remember the story of General Custer? The Cheyenne were the home team.). Small takes great pride in his heritage and talks of his roots proudly and with confidence.
Like renowned guitarists, Carlos Santana and B.B.King, Smalls guitar is the forefront to one of the most incredible percussion sections in the area. One need only look behind the wall of percussion to see the likes of former 12-year Santana drummer, Graham Lear, or how about former Joe Cocker conguero, Bobby Torres. Small's band is always loaded with heavy weight musicians and the sound definitely reflects it.
Few guitarists attempt the sultry guitar ballads of Carlos Santana yet Small displays the same emotion and drama of his famous mentor whether it be a Santana classic or one his own well-composed pieces. His roots rock and reggae material is thoroughly seeped in Bob Marley with Carlos sitting in on guitar. His blues tracks: B.B. King with the Fabulous Thunderbirds in the rhythm section. A Portlander is hard pressed to find room in any venue where Small's veteran musicians perform. A recent weekend at Portland's premier blues club, the Candlelight Lounge, was no exception for this incredibly solid group led by this long black-haired Indian man.
Small has aimed his interests as a solo artist with his first "Native Americana" cd release (not surprisingly) entitled "Wild Indians". Released in July of 2001, "Wild Indians" won the prestigious Nammy "Songwriter of the Year" award and nominated for : "Best Songwriter", "Best Male Performer", and "Best Blues/Jazz Recording" by the 2002 Native American Music Association.
Small has recently been appearing on the concert stage with other Native American performers such as, Rita Coolidge (Walela), Indigenous, Native Roots, and Keith Secola. Small has previously garnered a nomination from the Native American Music Awards Show "Best Blues/Jazz Recording" for his 2000 blues release "Cheyenne Blue Revisited".