Gary Joines was born in the Piney Creek community of Alleghany County, and he has lived there all his life. His exposure to music was primarily through the community. “Several of the old timers were around then,” he says. One of the first musicians who influenced Gary’s playing was Joe Kyles, who taught Gary his first chords on the guitar. Gary played a lot of music with Howard Joines, a popular oldtime fiddler who was not closly related to Gary. Howard had been playing music in the area for many years, and Gary played square dances with him. Gary also played with Lester Enders, another oldtime fiddler in the area.
By the time he was a teenager, Gary was also playing fiddle and bass in addition to guitar. He soon started learning three-finger banjo. He cites Fred Roupe of Sparta as a banjo influence, although, he plays banjo less often than the other instruments.
When asked whether his fiddling leans more toward oldtime or bluegrass styles, Gary says, “It’s a combo. I like both.” Gary went to a Bill Monroe show and heard Kenny Baker perform with the Blue Grass Boys. He idolized Baker and cites him as one of his musical influences.
Gary has played with a number of bands for square dances and at fiddler’s conventions. When asked what he likes about old mountain music, Gary says, “I just like the sound of it. It’s relaxing.” He also likes knowing that it gives him something in common with other musicians even though the music is never quite the same from one musician to the next. “Everybody plays it different,” he says, “You play it your own way.”
Gary Joines performs with the Blue Ridge Ramblers at the Alleghany Jubilee. The group performs one Saturday a month for dances and occasionally at fiddler’s conventions. Gary also fills in with the Rise and Shine Band, which plays at the Allegany Jubilee every Tuesday night and on occasional Saturday nights. Gary will typically fill in on fiddle, bass, or guitar, and sometimes all three.