Growing up in a musical family in Southern Oregon, my sister and I learned to sing harmony behind our Dads guitar and vocals. I played clarinet first and then saxophone in the school bands through college and even made up a band for a special appearance in front of my high school peers for a lark. It was here that I learned to phrase and use my ear to pitch and to sing. I never really gave it a thought to sing or play professionally until a little bug bit me, and my professional music career was born in Los Angeles in the late 1980’s after leaving my country home in the Pacific Northwest. With “Bourre’”, I played sax and sang back-up with a regional Louisiana style rhythm and blues band in the LA clubs The King King and The Mint. After moving to the mid-Atlantic in 1990, I formed the first bands of my own; the six member “Bliss Blues Band” and a 7 piece western swing band (“The Lone Starlets”). Booked by Cellar Door Entertainment, we worked festivals, colleges and clubs throughout the mid-Atlantic and opened for several nationally touring country and blues acts. With this band I was awarded "Best Country Female Vocalist" at the Washington Area Music Association Awards, the "Wammies" and was first discovered to portray the legendary Patsy Cline in the First National Tour of "A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline." (I was chosen from over 600 hopefuls for the role.)
Standing in the boots of Patsy Cline and endorsed by the Cline Estate, I went on to work in Branson, Missouri at the Grand Palace in 1995 with "Patsy! A World-wide Tribute to Patsy Cline". During this time and with the encouragement of Charlie Dick, Patsy Cline's widower and in conjunction with Sony Music, I released my first recording, "Gail Bliss and Patsy Cline" featuring Patsy singing 6 of her songs and me singing another 6 Cline hits. This album was co-produced by me and the legendary guitarist, who played on most all of Patsy’s original hits, Harold Bradley. While in Branson I also sang with Barbara Fairchild regularly on Sunday mornings at the Glen Campbell Theatre, and performed with the Jordanaires, Jim Stafford and Kenny Rogers on a few occasions. Next, our show went to Toronto, Ontario's Queen Elizabeth Theatre for the bulk of 1996. In addition to this acting/singing role, the Gail Bliss Band began touring across Canada at various night club and festival engagements and also headlined a tour of the "Leblatt's Brier" playing original and country music. From this stint in Canada, I then moved to Nashville where I immediately began working with the AFM-local 257 musician’s union, the original C.G.P. Chet Atkins, and Mr. Tom Morales of Nashville's TomKats serving as the talent coordinator of the first and second International Chet Atkins Musicians Days. Working once again closely alongside then AFM President, Harold Bradley, I was responsible for booking musicians from across the globe at countless venues across the greater Nashville area for a solid week during the event. Working as one of the 5 coordinators on this event, it was then that I was personally introduced to the Mother Church, the Ryman Auditorium as I co stage-managed the finale concert in honor of Chet Atkins, just a few short years before his passing.
During this time in Nashville, I was rediscovered as a vocalist by one of the musicians I had booked for the Chet Days event, the legendary fiddler Mr. Vassar Clements. I found myself touring and recording with Vassar (RCA Studio B, “Old Black Magic” Backporch Swing) and played saxophone in one of his incarnations of his Hillbilly Jazz band. In Nashville I continued to record, working with producer Kevin McKendree (Leroy Parnell/Delbert McClinton), and act and secured a role in the country musical, “Pump Boys and Dinettes”, that performed on the stage of the Ryman Auditorium nightly during one summer late 1990's. I later performed this show in casts in Florida (Alhambra Dinner Theatre, Jacksonville) and (Burt Reynolds’ Maltz Jupiter Theatre in Jupiter), as well. I also began producing and directing the Patsy Cline show that I had been involved with now for so many years, this in addition to continuing in the leading role. After 30 years of touring with this show and its various incarnations across North America, my role as Patsy and my involvement with the theatrical Patsy story, that I love so much, was put to rest in the winter of 2023. I will always be grateful to Patsy and her family for the opportunity to further her legacy.
Moving back to 2003, I was one of the top 4 finalists in the nationally broadcast gospel talent contest, Exalting Him, where I performed a country gospel song that I wrote for the album, "Where Love Lives", distributed at the time by Daywind Records and recorded in Nashville (Hilltop Studios, Tony Turner of MidSouth producer). This album and the title cut, also an original, co-written by myself and Steve Fox ("Daddy Won't Sell the Farm" Montgomery Gentry) won me the title "Best Songwriter" at the Christian Country Music Awards in Nashville. Just prior to the release of the gospel album I moved to South Carolina to perform as vocalist for the Alabama Theatre's "ONE, The Show" in Myrtle Beach, SC. I was part of this 23 member cast for the next thirteen years, concluding in 2014.
In 2005/2006 I was thrilled to land a role in the Broadway cast of the Johnny Cash musical, "RING OF FIRE" (directed by Richard Maltby), where I was a triple understudy to the three June Carter roles. In addition to acting and singing in this role, I also played percussion, piano, and acoustic guitar. We showcased the show first in Buffalo, NY (Studio Arena Theatre) before going to New York City where we performed on the Great White Way at the Barrymore Theatre.
The self-penned “Moon Over the Cumberland”, off my classic country CD, “For The Good Times”, garnered the #1 spot on the International Western Swing music charts after its release and continued to fuel my aspirations as a songwriter.
Other acting credits include the lead role of Jeannine Jasper in the original country musical, “Play It By Heart”, which was produced first in Nashville and then in both Issaquah and Everett, Washington at the Village Theatres, directed by Brian Yorkey. This work spawned my 6th professional recording, “Play It By Heart, Songs from the Musical”, where I co-wrote the title track. Other notable performances are of those with members of John Denvers’ band in the “John Denver Holiday Concert” at The Wheeler Auditorium (Aspen, CO), The Rubicon Theatre (Ventura, CA) and The Seattle Repertory Theatre (Seattle, WA).
Since 2014, I have continued to write songs, (both lyrics and music), record and produce, and tour across North America. Recent collaborations have seen me with the Andrew Thielen Big Band, touring with Jason Petty in the shows "Country Royalty" and "Classic Nashville Live” and backing fellow songwriter and musician, Eric Lewis in Wisconsin’s Door County at several venues. I have also been performing my own "Gail Bliss and the Nashville Barn Dance”, “Bliss & The Boys”, ”Gail Bliss Classic Country Christmas Show” and my “Gail Bliss Gospel” concert across the USA and am continuing to book these shows in addition to developing other performance opportunities for the future. 2023 will see the release of my 1st Christmas CD, “Twinkle Twinkle Christmas Star”, and features 4 original songs that I have written. The role of wife to my husband John, mom to my furry kitty cats, and member of my church praise team, continue to be among my greatest accolades.