On stage he is always the lieutenant, ready for anything, clocking everything with equanimity, passing on to other musicians his accurate interpretations of Dylan’s often inscrutable nods and narrowings of eyes, yet at the same time smiling at fans and giving every appearance of a contented man who still enjoys his work…. By the end of 2007, he had played at 1900 Bob Dylan concerts, Uncannily, he doesn’t look a day older than when he played his first.
– Michael Gray (Bob Dylan encyclopedia)
Tony Garnier (born Saint Paul, Minnesota, May 10, 1955) is best known as an accompanist to Bob Dylan, with whom he has played since 1989. He is Dylan’s longest-running side-man, and has sometimes been characterized as his “musical director” as well.
In addition to his work with Dylan, Garnier has recorded with Tom Waits, Loudon Wainwright III, Paul Simon, Marc Ribot and Eric Andersen, and was a member of Asleep at the Wheel (from 1976–78) and The Lounge Lizards. He also played with Robert Gordon in the early 1980s. He was also a long-time side-man for David Johansen in his Buster Poindexter persona, and was also briefly a member of the Saturday Night Live house band.
Here are Dylan & Garnier @ the 70th birthday of Apollo Theater – A Change Is Gonna Come (Sam Cooke):
I Seen the arrow on the doorpost
Saying, “This land is condemned
All the way from New Orleans
To New Jerusalem” Well I traveled through East Texas
Where many martyrs fell I can tell you one thing nobody can sing the-blues-like-Blind-Willie-McTell
Great version of this masterpiece from the 2002 Europe spring tour.
“Blind Willie McTell” was the most interesting performance of the night.
It used to be like that:
“No-one can sing the blues …
like Blind Willie McTell”
but tonight it went like this:
“I’ll tell you one thing …
nobody can sing …
The more astute amongst you will have noticed that the third line of this new version is quite long and doesn’t fit too well. Several times I thought the line wouldn’t fit but Bob managed to squeeze it in, just in time.
~Andy Jenkins (from the archives over @ boblinks.com)
Manchester Evening News Arena Manchester, England 9 May 2002
Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar)
Charlie Sexton (guitar)
Larry Campbell (guitar, mandolin, pedal steel guitar & electric slide guitar)
My love she speaks like silence
Without ideals or violence
She doesn’t have to say she’s faithful
Yet she’s true, like ice, like fire
People carry roses
Make promises by the hours
My love she laughs like the flowers
Valentines can’t buy her
A Hotel Room Savoy Hotel London England 8 May 1965