Johnny Hiland grew up in the small town of Baileyville, Maine. He was born legally blind with an eye disease known as nystagmus, which did not allow him to grow up like most children. He could not do the things that sighted children could do like playing baseball, kickball, and so on. Therefore, he started playing guitar at age 2, and loved it. He played for family and friends, won local talent contests, and went on to perform his first tv show at age 7. His career took off when Johnny won the "Talent America Contest," at age 10, in New York City. He had a band with sister, Jodi, and brother, Jerry, called, “The 3 J's." They performed all over New England as a part of the Downeast Country Music Association. They had fun, playing for people, and Johnny grew as an artist playing guitar, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, and other instruments as well.
His father had taken him to see Ricky Skaggs perform in Bangor, Maine, and Johnny immediately went from pickin' bluegrass to wanting a telecaster. As a teen, Johnny spent countless hours learning and developing his own blend of chicken pickin,' rock, blues, and swing; while pickin' in a number of different bands around the state of Maine. After finishing high school, and 3 years of college, he moved to Nashville in 1996
Since then, he performed countless shows in the honky tonks on lower Broadway, and started at, “The World Famous Turf.” After a few years, Johnny landed the gig with The Don Kelley Band at Robert's Western World, which led him to perform on TNN's "Prime Time Country," and then as an artist at the legendary Grand Ole Opry. Johnny has played on a number of records for artists like Toby Keith, Trick Pony, Randy Travis, Ricky Skaggs, Janie Fricke, Lynn Anderson, Rodney Dillard, Rebecca Lynn Howard, Nokie Edwards, and Hank 3.
In 2004, Johnny signed his first record deal, as a guitar artist, with Steve Vai and his guitar based record company, Favored Nations. They released Johnny’s first debut, self titled, album later that same year. Since then, he has been touring the globe with his band, "The Johnny Hiland Band.“ He was blessed with a number of great endorsers, and ended up with his own guitar model with PRS Guitars.
In 2007, he released a 2nd guitar album, independently, called, "Loud and Proud". Throughout his career, Johnny has toured with his own band, yet has also performed on stage with super artists like Sammy Hagar, Ted Nugent, George Clinton and P-Funk, Les Paul, Steve Vai, Joe Bonamassa, G3, Ricky Skaggs, Hank 3, and many others. He loves to teach, and has his own line of guitar instructional material as well; 2 Hot Licks videos, a number of books/cds with Mel Bay, 2 TrueFire Courses, and a 20 licks course with Jam Track Central in the UK.
After facing the loss of both parents from 2005-2008, Johnny spent time with his longtime friend, Ronnie Lutrick, working on a blues project called “The Blues Connection”. He went on, and in 2010, Johnny teamed up with Ernie Ball Music Man Guitars for more of the country spank that he needed for his tone. Excited with this new move, he went on tour with Grand Ole Opry star, Hal Ketchum. The JHB opened for Hal, and played his show as well. That all ended, and Johnny went on to get signed with Mike Varney and Shrapnel Records near the end of that year. Johnny landed in the studio with Mike in early 2011, and they released, “All Fired Up,” in July of that year.
From 2012 to present day, Johnny has performed as much as he can with his band and show. The fall of our economy has impacted the music industry, and Johnny has been searching for a new booking agent to handle the JHB. He spent a few years playing gigs locally in Nashville with keyboardist/singer/songwriter, Tim McDonald, while searching for new management. In 2016 Johnny signed on with John Haring and Crush Worldwide.
Since then Johnny has re-released his 2007 album ”Loud and Proud” and has released a brand new studio album called “Standing Strong”. He is currently working on his autobiography with Eric Dahl, and continues to work on furthering his instructional materials with Truefire. He is involved with the Inspire America Foundation, which works with underprivileged children, the homeless, veterans, and human trafficking. He finds it very important to inspire young people to play music and to keep guitar alive. Johnny has started working with Renegade Radio to release his own radio show called “Guitarmania” with Johnny Hiland. This show features Johnny teaming up with his manager, John Haring, to keep guitar music alive for future generations.
2018 is going to bring some exciting ventures into Johnny’s life. He will be performing on the 2nd Annual Steel Guitar Cruise in February, and plans to tour extensively with the JHB on a truck stop tour. Throughout 2018, he plans on releasing his book, seeing new instructional material released with Truefire, and plans on releasing new merchandise.
He is a happy man these days in teaching, recording, touring, and spending as much time as possible with his beautiful wife, Kim, and their two dogs, Buddy and Ella. He feels, and shows every single day, that he has been very blessed, by God, for the gift of music/guitar, and to be able to continue to earn a living doing what he loves to do. He has a number of great signature products on the market through his many endorsements. You can find a full list of gear on Johnny’s website. Gibson Guitars has stated Johnny to be one of the top 5 chicken pickers. Guitar World magazine has also listed Johnny as being in the 50 fastest guitarists of all time. He was also listed one of the top 3 country guitar players in a Vintage Guitar magazine reader’s poll. He loves his fans very much, and sincerely appreciates all of the support given by them, his endorsers, his band, friends, and family.