A born musician, Gabe Hizer was already playing the accordion at the age of 6, the ukulele by the time he was 8 and the guitar by age 9. Known for his amazing guitar skills and his ability to incorporate blues, jazz, soul and pop into his original songs, Gabe has come a long way since his ukulele-days.
Gabe began his serious music training while in high school in the mid-1960s when he studied with famed country blues guitar master Stefan Grossman and with Long Island jazz guitar guru Howard Morgen. By the age of 16, Gabe won a Downbeat magazine scholarship for summer study at the prestigious Berklee College of Music, from which he later graduated with a degree in Composition in 1971.
After spending some years teaching guitar and playing in a variety of bands, Gabe took a detour from his music career and attended Boston University Law School, graduating with his J.D. in 1983. For the next 25 years, he practiced law, planning estates and drafting wills and trusts as well as writing a best-selling book in 2003 called “How to Protect Your Family’s Assets from Devastating Nursing Home Costs: Medicaid Secrets.” Although his career in law dominated his time, the pressures of having his own law practice never kept him from thinking about and writing music in his free time.
In Nashville in 2002, Gabe formed the Gabe Hizer Blues Band, which included a 17-year veteran of B.B.King’s band, Michael Doster, on bass and after moving to Boulder, CO, in 2004, Gabe put together another version of the Blues Band, which served as the house blues band at the upscale dinner club Nissi’s.
At this point in his life, Gabe decided to leave law and contemplated retirement, visiting a small historic town in central Mexico, San Miguel de Allende, in 2008. With only his cats, some rudimentary recording equipment, a guitar, bass, and keyboard, and his laptop, Gabe spent his 4 months in Mexico rediscovering his intense passion for music and decided that an early retirement was not the path he wished to take. With his desire to write music reignited, Gabe moved back to Nashville, a town that he says is the perfect environment for a musician, inspiring and motivating.
After years of the music inside of him begging to be written and played, Gabe was finally able to dedicate himself fully to his passion for music. A prolific songwriter since his high school days, Gabe had continued to write even during while practicing law, sometimes producing three songs in one day! By the time he was ready to begin his first CD, he had amassed almost 1,000 songs to choose from. His CD, “Persistence of Memory,” which contains several songs he wrote while in Mexico, was released April 5, 2010. Produced by the well-regarded Indie producer and artist/songwriter Neilson Hubbard, the CD is available from CD Baby, Amazon.com, and from Gabe via Bandcamp.
Gabe has also been busy performing at local songwriters nights, house concerts, and at Richard’s Café, a Louisiana restaurant in a town 10 miles north of Nashville. His performances have been a big hit among his fans who have said “With his three-octave vocal range, sophisticated guitar arrangements, and well-crafted songs, Gabe puts on a great one-man show!”
After many years of putting his passion on the side in favor of his law career, his music has only gotten stronger. One fan said, “In a world where people get sucked into boring desk jobs, it’s refreshing to see someone not only pursue his passion, but succeed at it! It’s almost as if all the years of not spending 24/7 on his music has instilled it with a sense of urgency, only making his songs all the more powerful and exciting.”
In May 2011, Gabe started working with Nashville producer Shay Watson. First Gabe gave Shay the fun task of listening to 185 of Gabe’s best songs (out of over 1,000!), and Shay whittled it down further to 21 songs he thought they should start with. After a few months, they produced a number of songs that are now on the website, here.
In May 2012, Gabe started a new band, Zen Poets (www.ZenPoets.com) and wrote a slew of new band-centric songs especially for this project. You can hear them on the Zen Poets website.