Johnny Hiland at "Experience PRS"
See Johnny at the Platinum Lab Studios while recording "Loud & Proud" and hear Johnny's thoughts on his Scratch Pad guitar finish protectors.
"I think Johnny Hiland is the most versatile guitar player I've ever heard. From Bill Monroe to Eddie Van Halen, he can play it all." - RICKY SKAGGS
If you tried, you couldn't make up a story this good... Legally blind kid grows up in a trailer home in rural Maine, a guitar prodigy touring with the family band starting at age 8, wining local and regional competitions, moving to Nashville where he drops jaws all over town during sessions with Ricky Skaggs, Toby Keith, Randy Travis, Janie Fricke and many more. Then Johnny gets signed by Steve Vai when Johnny's manager leaves a demo clip on Steve's voicemail box.
But indeed, this is the true story of Johnny Hiland, who made his solo debut with his self-titled album on Vai's Favored Nations label. Johnny, was born with nystagmus, a condition of involuntary eye movement, grew up in Woodland, Maine and was known as the "blind boy." According to Johnny, "my dad was determined to not hold me back from anything I wanted to do. My dad had been a dirt bike racer when he was younger, so I had all kinds of bicycles and snowmobiles and a little Suzuki JR50 that I rode. My mom was worried sick, but Dad would say, "Look, just don't kill yourself." and "To those kids who say you'll never drive a truck. Baloney! We live on a woods road, we've got a '74 SuperCab, so let's get in it and go for a ride." And Dad did let me drive. I had a ball, but Mom just about had a fit."
Life for Hiland is, in a sense, like the accelerando he unleashes in his cover of "Orange Blossom Special." He's playing bigger sessions than ever; look for him on upcoming albums by Randy Travis, Toby Keith, Ricky Skaggs, Lynn Anderson, Janie Fricke, Rebecca Lynn Howard, and other headliners. Johnny is appearing on two tribute albums, to Phish and Dave Matthews and has shared the stage with Living Colour's Vernon Reed, funk master George Clinton, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Ynvgie Malmsteen on their G3 tour, each time more than holding his own.
Johnny has cut "Blues Newburg" and "Red Label," two devilishly difficult Danny Gatton songs, both of which he learned note-for-note in eight hours; each version is available for download through Line 6.
Nashville Predators hockey games now feature the team theme song, "Stick It To 'Em Boys," written and performed by Hiland. Johnny has even scored and played on the soundtrack for a proposed cartoon show, based -- not coincidentally -- on the adventures of a country band at Robert's Western Wear.
Kids figure in Johnny's ambitions beyond music; a talented amateur artist, he's putting a coloring book together designed to give hope to disabled children.
So, it's true that you could never make up a story as good as Johnny Hiland's - nobody would believe you. And perhaps, more important, you could never make up a person as kind, warm-hearted, determined and talented as Johnny Hiland.
Read more of this amazing story at JohnnyHilandBand.com