Raised in Houston, Texas, Gaines displayed an ability for music early on. His mother encouraged music in the house and purchased a piano when Roy was a child. "I played piano from ages six until about fourteen," recalls Roy. "I switched to guitar after I saw how my brother Grady, who plays saxophone, would get all the girls by walking around the club while playing. I said 'Boy, I want some of those girls!' and made the switch to guitar."
After a failed marriage at the age of 16, Gaines headed to California where he found himself thrust into the world of late night bars and touring with Roy "Pops" Milton. But this was just the beginning for Roy. His dossier reads like a who's who of blues and jazz performers. He toured and recorded with blues greats like Chuck Willis ("C.C. Rider") and Ray Charles and did session work for the likes of Bobby "Blue" Bland and Junior Parker among many others. And Roy's no stranger to the Hollywood scene either lending his talents to the motion pictures "How Many Roads" and "The Color Purple" which led to several television commercials including spots for AT&T and Coors Brewing Company.
All of this good fortune allowed Roy to open Gainesville, a nightclub, restaurant and recording studio that lasted for 11 years. "I had a good thing going, but couldn't keep it running," he remembers. In 1996, completely broke at age 60, Gaines released the last recording he made at Gainesville, Lucille Work for Me. That release combined with Bluesman for Life (1998) gave Roy the long overdue recognition he deserved. He spent most of 1999 touring the festival circuit only to find himself back in the studio after Severn Records approached him with a recording deal.
Recipient of the 1999 Handy Award for "Most Deserving of Wider Recognition" and Living Blues "Comeback Artist of the Year" that same year, Roy Gaines is easily one to be reckoned with as he carves out a New Frontier for blues lovers around the globe.
New Frontier Lover, Severn CD 0008
I Got the T-Bone Walker Blues, Groove Note GRV 2002-2
Bluesman for Life, JSP CD 2110
Lucille Work for Me, Black Gold B61166-2
Going Home to See Mama, Black Gold