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Anthony Gomes Heals Himself And Others With Music

Anthony Gomes
Stephen Jensen
Anthony Gomes

Blues-rocker Anthony Gomes says he's donating a portion of the proceeds of his Friday show at the Castle Theatre to the Twin Cities-based HEAL Foundation, which supports autism acceptance.

The donation continues his ongoing efforts to support various causes through his Music is the Medicine Foundation.

“When I was growing up, music was a way for me to heal,” said the Toronto native. “My mother was diagnosed a paranoid schizophrenic, and that made life very challenging as a teenager when she began to get sick.”

Simultaneously, Gomes’ father had an altercation with a partner at his small real-estate firm. That man later went into courtroom and shot an attorney.

“He was at-large for over 10 years, and was literally Canada’s most wanted man,” said Gomes.

Obviously the family feared for its safety. Gomes was 13 at the time.

“Any mother would have been scared, but my mother was diagnosed with this illness. It just crippled her. My mom who every kid in the neighborhood wishes was their mom was there, but absent,” said Gomes.

That’s when music became his medicine.

“Music taught me all the lessons my mom couldn’t about love,” said Gomes. “I would listen to a song and it would move me or heal me. Music even healed her in many ways, and I’m happy to say she’s doing better now.”

Gomes then took the idea of how music helped him heal to raise money through the foundation to help others.

“I wanted to give that guitar to some man or woman who needed it that could help them, and help them express themselves and help them communicate it,” said Gomes.

It’s hard not to look for that kind of meaning in the song “You Are Amazing” from his latest album “Peace, Love & Loud Guitars.” The lyrics and even the power ballad song structure are an outlier on an album full of powerful blues-rockers that include the titles “White Trash Princess,” The Whiskey Made Me Do It” and “Your Mama Wants To Do Me.”

I want to be here forever Standing by your side Through the wrong and right You’re the love of my life And you are … amazing “You Are Amazing” from Anthony Gomes.

“I didn’t write that song for anybody,” said Gomes. “I wrote that song when I was lonely, and wanting to meet that person. And saying, ‘Wow, wouldn’t it be wonderful to find somebody that could move me this way.’”

Knowing his compassion for those in need, the song could also be interpreted as a message to others to understand they are special for who they are.

“I have a friend of mine who put all these images of people in third world countries under horrible conditions, just smiling … and these kids are playing soccer … it was so moving to see those images against this music,” said Gomes.

Twenty-plus years into his music career, Gomes is still as enthusiastic as when he emerged from Toronto. When asked to rate that passion on a scale from 1 to 10, he shouted “11.”

“Peace, Love & Loud Guitars” has won several awards for album of the year,” said Gomes proudly. “Or it made a number of publications' list for top album of the year. Blues Rock Review, a leading blues blog, voted it best album of the year. I can’t tell you how many accolades this record has received. It’s exciting after doing a dozen albums over 20 years when you’re releasing your hottest album to date. I’m just super excited where I am at in my career, super excited about the guitar, and feel like I’m singing and playing better than I ever have.”

Anthony Gomes returns to the Castle Theatre in Bloomington Friday night. Bloomington’s blues-rocker Old Smoke opens the show. Doors open at 7 p.m. Music starts at 8 p.m.

The entire GLT interview with Anthony Gomes.

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Jon Norton is the audio director at WGLT and WCBU. He also is host of All Things Considered every weekday.