Johnny Hiland grew up in the small town of Baileyville, Maine. He was born legally blind with an eye disease known as nystagmus, which did not allow him to grow up like most children. He could not do the things that sighted children could do like playing baseball, kickball, and so on. Therefore, he started playing guitar at age 2, and loved it. He played for family and friends, won local talent contests, and went on to perform his first tv show at age 7. His career took off when Johnny won the "Talent America Contest," at age 10, in New York City. He had a band with sister, Jodi, and brother, Jerry, called, “The 3 J's." They performed all over New England as a part of the Downeast Country Music Association. They had fun, playing for people, and Johnny grew as an artist playing guitar, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, and other instruments as well.
His father had taken him to see Ricky Skaggs perform in Bangor, Maine, and Johnny immediately went from pickin' bluegrass to wanting a telecaster. As a teen, Johnny spent countless hours learning and developing his own blend of chicken pickin,' rock, blues, and swing; while pickin' in a number of different bands around the state of Maine. After finishing high school, and 3 years of college, he moved to Nashville in 1996.
Since then, he performed countless shows in the honky tonks on lower Broadway, and started at, “The World Famous Turf.” After a few years, Johnny landed the gig with The Don Kelley Band at Robert's Western World, which led him to perform on TNN's "Prime Time Country," and then as an artist at the legendary Grand Ole Opry. Johnny has played on a number of records for artists like Toby Keith, Trick Pony, Randy Travis, Ricky Skaggs, Janie Fricke, Lynn Anderson, and Hank 3.
In 2004, Johnny signed his first record deal, as a guitar artist, with Steve Vai and his guitar based record company, Favored Nations. They released Johnny’s first debut, self titled, album later that same year. Since then, he has been touring the globe with his band, "The Johnny Hiland Band.“ He was blessed with a number of great endorsers, and ended up with his own guitar model with PRS Guitars.
In 2007, he released a 2nd guitar album, independently, called, "Loud and Proud". Throughout his career, Johnny has toured with his own band, yet has also performed on stage with super artists like Sammy Hagar, Ted Nugent, George Clinton and P-Funk, Les Paul, Steve Vai, Joe Bonamassa, G3, Ricky Skaggs, Hank 3, and many others. He loves to teach, and has his own line of guitar instructional material as well; 2 Hot Licks videos, and a number of books/cds with Mel Bay.
In 2008, he joined forces with his long time friend, Ron Lutrick, and they recorded a blues album together called, "The Blues Connection." Johnny and Ronnie had a blast doing dates together on the road, and knew they needed to stick together. In fact, they did just that. Johnny faced the incredible loss of many family members from 2005 to 2008 to include his father, Tom, and his mother, Grace. Those years were very tough on him, and it took great friends, like Ron, along with his loving wife, Kim, to get through it.
He went on, and in 2010, Johnny teamed up with Ernie Ball Music Man Guitars for more of the country spank that he needed for his tone. Excited with this new move, he went on tour with Grand Ole Opry star, Hal Ketchum. The JHB opened for Hal, and played his show as well. That all ended, and Johnny went on to get signed with Mike Varney and Shrapnel Records near the end of that year. Johnny landed in the studio with Mike in early 2011, and they released, “All Fired Up,” which is Johnny’s latest record, in July of that year. Since then, Johnny has been touring as much as he can to promote this great record.
Now, in 2013, Johnny has teamed up with CEC Amplification, and together, they have designed and released his new signature amp called, “The Johnny Hiland Road Dog.” Johnny has also now joined musical forces with another great friend, Tim McDonald. Johnny and Tim have been performing home shows on Tim’s, “Bringing It To The People Tour.”
No matter what the future holds, Johnny will also always reach out to show the young people of today that live music is cool, and that guitar is awesome!!!! He has written a children's book called, "Tuff and Friends," to inspire handicapped children to follow their dreams. Johnny is looking for the right publishing/distribution deal for the book, and one day hopes he can sell it at shows for the children’s division of the National Federation for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Johnny is also gearing up to shoot a new instructional DVD with Truefire near the end of this year. Johnny now has his own studio, and has the burning desire to start producing new artists as much as he can. He loves the creative edge in the studio, and is very blessed by the wonderful folks who helped to make his studio, "Camp Hiland," possible.
He is a happy man these days in teaching, recording, touring, and spending as much time as possible with his beautiful wife, Kim, and their two dogs, Buddy and Ella. He feels, and shows every single day, that he has been very blessed, by God, for the gift of music/guitar, and to be able to continue to earn a living doing what he loves to do. He loves his fans very much, and sincerely appreciates all of the support given by them, his endorsers, his band, friends, and family.
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