Before his last scheduled song Mathis likes to introduce the small band of musicians that always accompany him from city to city, some of whom, like Gil Reigers
and Joe Lizama, have been touring with him for more than 20 years.
His longtime guitarist and relatively recently-christened production manager, Gil Reigers, joins him often as vocal accompanist on songs like Welcome Home, 99 Miles from L.A., and a concert favorite known to fans as The Cricket Song.
A portly, balding man with a neatly trimmed goatee, he's
been a part of Mathis' crew since the early 70's.
is, I think, less accomplished as a singer, but he
is used primarily for harmony, and his
higher voice blends well with that of Mathis
nonetheless has a facility with the acoustic guitar, and seems to have had some classical training.
I recently was sent a tape of a European performance in the middle 70's and I was particularly impressed by the guitar work on the latin-style numbers.
It is Reiger's sleepy arrangement of the Twelfth of Never that prevails over the more familiar recorded one, which the audience will probably never hear again in concert.
This seems to be the one exception to Mathis' self-imposed rule of performing a song as intended.
However, this arrangement and the guitarist's performance of it and other songs please Mathis, who adores Reigers and will often have him appearing superfluously on television appearances, and will take his guitarist by the hand and present him after a number to a seemingly appreciative audience.