“I was that 15-year-old kid who spent hours a day with a borrowed mandolin, teaching myself from a book how to read music and play the instrument. I had to return that mandolin, but not before my parents noticed how much I put into learning it – and how far I’d come in a few weeks,” Neil Speers explained.
“For my 16th birthday, they gave me my first guitar. I soon started a band and joined another one, and have never stopped my love affair with the guitar and performing.”
Whether he is performing live, lending his talents in-studio sessions, or volunteering as an advocate of music and visual arts, the dedication to the world of art of singer-songwriter and blues guitarist, Neil “Hardwire” Speers is without question.
The Calgary, Alberta-native was introduced to music at a young age by his mother who would listen to jazz and classical music. Later, Neil was influenced heavily by the likes of rock acts such as Jimi Hendrix and Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour as well as the acoustic talents of Doc Watson and Leo Kotke.
“I’m a big believer in the magic of improvisation when it comes to playing, especially in solos. I grew up with a lot of jazz in the house, and almost all the players I really loved growing into guitar tended to take side roads while playing,” Neil explains.
An instrumentalist, vocalist, songwriter, and composer, Neil’s songs grip fans on a personal level by exploring the themes of loss and redemption through several music genres like Blues, Canadiana, and Americana. His first full-length CD, Vol 1 – Breakfast at Epiphany’s, released in 2008 and was followed in 2015 by the five-song EP September Winds – The Art of Instrumental Acoustic Guitar. Neil also won a Best Original Soundtrack award for music he composed for an independent video detailing the culture of Calgary, Canada.
Away from music, Neil is an avid photographer and believes that every human being can be photogenic regardless of how they feel about their looks. In 2008, he embarked on a near 75-hundred kilometre journey from Vancouver to Newfoundland. The project, which Neil called Just Over the Horizon, saw him stopping to take pictures every 50 kilometres. You can learn more about his art photography at JustOverTheHorizon.ca He also loves the outdoors and enjoys camping and hiking.