In the morning of Monday 10 December 2018, after a short period of intense pain, after he was diagnosed with very aggressive pancreatic cancer Gary Perkins paased away in his sleep.
Possibly the best country music artist working the circuit in Great Britain. Whether playing covers of classic and modern country songs or enthralling listening audiences with a his vast collection his own songs.Marked by the immence surge in airplay in recent weeks of his two great songs, Thank you and Angel on my Shoulder , played by most of the discerning country radio jocks, something of a phenomina in British country music.
At the very young age of 8 Gary was gifted his first guitar learning to produce recognisable tunes on it. Gary, with his discerning wry grin, said when I was 14 I learnt to play it properly. At this time he became very adept with the harmonica with such a skill he used to play at all the school concerts.
Gary was an avid sportsman in his school days , appointed Games Captain, he played County Rugby,representing South Yorkshire in the Triple Jump at the schools championships. No slouch at the 100 yds he regulary ran under 10.9 seconds.
Gary’s father got him an apprenticeship as a structal engineer going on to be a an engineer building power stations across the country.
It was in 1980 that his music career kicked in professionally, singing in the pubs and clubs around his home . It was due to the distance he was travelling as his fame spread that he became a full time musician in 1991. He soon acquired a Musicians Union card and joined Equity. This got him a lot of walk on parts in local TV productions including the soap Peak Practice.
By 1995 he was was singing with a local band the Breeze, a rapid demand from most of the major UK festivals and clubs saw it being billed as Gary Perkins and the Breeze. Their signature tune J J Cales Call me the Breeze became a staple fair at these events.
By the end of the 90s Gary wanting some more income for his growing family, his wife and his sons Tom and Jack, he got a Street Entertainers licence and became a busker in all the South Yorkshire shopping Malls.
Singing country both covers and his own songs he found he could sell a lot of CDs also from his ever growing library of albums. This left him free to play the festivals at the weekends.
By 2007his fame spread world wide he had a record deal with the Australian label RCB.
Producing over 10 albums including two very good self penned ones
His awards are boundless, BCMA Band of the Year 2011/16
UK Awards artist of the Year, Group of the year, solo artist of the year.
A massive amount of club awards for best band
CCN awards as best band.
Just two members of the original Breeze remain Guitarist Andy Mottram and Keyboardist Steve Morris
Of all Garys great performance he will be remembered for his ID number that hung like an Albertross around his music career. Looking for a number to end a particulary boisterous show the band played the theme to Rawhide . Some unnamed memberers of the band started jumping up and down and the crowd followed . The rest is history, he could not finish an evening or festival without playing it now with a long guitar solos, sometimes the keys going wild thrilling the dancers and singers, even with a five minute drum solo . All this time Gary sang and smiled, this is how most people will remember and honor possibly the greatest club country musician ever. To his Sons Tom and Jack , his Band, Andy and Steve and the Crew, His partner Julie who never left his side, from Cross Country and All the Thousands of country fans RIP Gary Perkins.
Jim Duncan BCMA Curator British Country Hall of Fame.