By Noe Gutierrez

John Carey comes in all shapes and sizes. He can perform as a solo artist, as part of a duo or trio in the Smooth Brothers, in a 5-piece Motown band and as part of Capitol Records recording artist O’Bryan. It’s this smorgasbord of rhythm and blues and jazz that has kept Carey on the radar of music fans around the world and why he won the CVMA for ‘Best Adult Contemporary’ as a member of the Smooth Brothers. CV Weekly spoke with Carey recently to check in.

On his health and recent success:

“Health-wise I’m dealing with stage four leukemia, but I’m in remission for six months and counting. I just played the biggest show of my life at the Anaheim Honda Center for over 17,000 people earlier this month at the Orange County FUNKFEST 2018 as guitarist for O’Bryan.” Also on the bill were Morris Day and The Time and the The Bar-Kays.


On the desert music landscape & keeping busy:

“The desert music scene is booming. I’m very fortunate to be working seven days a week for some wonderful club and restaurant owners like Wayne Woodruff from Woody’s Palm House and Lou Pagano from Shanghai Reds and Fishermen Market & Grill, not to mention my brother Jim “FITZ” Fitzgerald and Big Rock Pub. The future looks great. I’m also going to be playing acoustic solo guitar on Tuesdays at the new Ritz hotel. The Coachella Valley has been very good to me. I’ve been living here almost 17 years now and it’s my home. Everybody knows The Smooth Brothers in this area thanks to everyone at Coachella Valley Weekly. After winning the Coachella Valley Music Awards I have been more recognized by thousands of fans. So far 2018 has been wonderful and 2019 looks to be even more remarkable with a long list of confirmed bookings. I’ve been locked in for New Year’s Eve for 6 months! Our regular home owners in the valley are coming out more this year and having a great time. The summer months haven’t been as challenging as it was in the past for us working musicians. And after 17 years my body has grown used to the heat.”

On his purpose:

“When I see people dancing and having a good time, I don’t think about the cancer or chemotherapy. I was put on this earth so that people can have a wonderful time through my music. I’ve been playing guitar over 50 years and I’m having the best time of my life right now. Sometimes it seems like every note is meaningful with conversation. At 62 years old I feel I’m developing my love for playing because I’m enjoying it so much. I’m not trying to impress or compete. I’m just happy to be playing and living my dream. It’s my labor of love.”

Carey is thriving after being diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) in 2017 and having gone through countless treatments and challenges. Carey is exemplary as a Christian, husband, father, grandfather, musician and friend. His faith in all things is contagious and provides a fine example to us all. Currently, you can witness a John Carey performance on any given evening at Woody’s and Big Rock Pub.

Carey has new music in the works and will be releasing it soon. You can find his music in all media outlets.