Written by Bill Kopp | Photos by Evan Anderson
Gar Ragland wears multiple hats—recording studio rat and producer, owner of a record label and an annual songwriting competition, board chair of the Asheville Area Arts Council—yet he’s not feeling overextended in the least. “More often than not I feel like my professional journey is still in its infancy,” he says. “I’m just getting started.”
Asheville-based producer Gar Ragland is deeply immersed in multiple endeavors that skillfully combine commerce and creativity.
The ripple effects of his efforts are often far-reaching, providing tangible encouragement and assistance to rising musical talents. Some of his projects are high-profile, while others are understated, even under wraps. And though his career path has had its share of twists and turns, with the benefit of hindsight it looks remarkably linear; each step forward appears a logical progression.
Ragland was born and raised in Winston-Salem, where he quickly developed an interest in all things musical. “I fell in love with music—and the performance aspects of it—at an early age,” he recalls. He took guitar lessons and became more serious about playing music while in high school. “When I went to the University of Virginia in the early ‘90s,” he continues, “I started playing gigs for the first time.” He mostly played cover songs on acoustic guitar, performing at coffee houses and bars. “But I was getting paid!” Ragland pauses, then laughs. “I was drinking for free, though I wasn’t even 21 yet. And I thought, ‘Yeah, I could get used to this.”
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