Though his fame and fortune have been minimal, music has always been an important part of contemporary blues and folk musician Tony Gagarin's life. He started playing flute and guitar in rock bands at the age of 17. When he saw John Lee Hooker open for Santana in the early '70s he was impressed with the strength of Hooker's solo performance and decided to pursue a career as a solo acoustic musician. He paid his dues for several years, working as a street musician in New York City and performing in small clubs along the Eastern Seaboard. He also gained formal musical training at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. While performing at the New England Folk Festival, he met folk musician Kate Wolf and decided to travel with her to California. He would eventually decide to stay, setting up shop in Sonoma County in 1977. While performing at a club called the West of Laguna in Sebastopol, he became friends with Nina Carter, who would become his frequent collaborator. She, along with a host of northern Californian musicians, would be featured on his first album, One Lifetime's Not Enough, issued in 1998 on Jackalope Records. The album highlights Gagarin's unique sound, which fuses blues and folk and features a variety of guitar sounds produced on a a series of six-string, 12-string and dobro guitars.