- Host: Jay Franze
- Guest: Chris Leuzinger
- Aired: June 19, 2023
Welcome to another episode of The Jay Franze Show! On this show, we have an extraordinary guest, Chris Leuzinger, a renowned Nashville studio guitarist and the guitarist for country superstar Garth Brooks.
Chris takes us on a musical journey, starting from his early days in West Palm Beach, Florida, where he first picked up the guitar at 9. He shares his early influences, including guitar legends like Steve Cropper, Mike Bloomfield, and Eric Clapton, and his love for The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.
At 21, Chris decided to move to Nashville and pursue his passion for music. Through a chance encounter with publisher Juan Contreras and producer Norbert Putnam, he found himself on the road with Dobie Gray and later became part of Cowboy Jack Clement’s Ragtime Band. During this time, Chris made his mark in the recording studio, contributing to several #1 hits with Eddie Rabbitt.
But his meeting with producer Allen Reynolds truly transformed his career. Chris shares how Allen became his mentor and introduced him to Crystal Gayle, leading to an incredible 11-year stint in her touring band. They headlined major shows, traveled the world, and appeared on esteemed TV shows such as The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson and Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve.
However, Chris’s studio work continued to grow, and he eventually focused solely on his session career. Little did he know that another life-changing call from Allen Reynolds would come his way, this time about a promising new artist named Garth Brooks. Together, they recorded the initial tracks, including hits like “If Tomorrow Never Comes” and “Much Too Young,” setting the stage for Garth’s monumental career.
Chris reflects on his incredible journey with Garth Brooks, spanning over 25 years. Even after Allen’s retirement, Chris remains vital to Garth’s recording sessions, forging an unbreakable musical bond. He also expresses gratitude for the opportunity to collaborate with numerous other great artists and highlights the rich musical community in Nashville.
Join us for an inspiring and insightful conversation with Chris Leuzinger as he shares the stories behind the iconic songs, his experiences as a studio guitarist, and the magic behind the scenes in the music industry. It’s an episode you won’t want to miss!
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