(Jamie is a musician who lives in Jasper. He and his family attend Jasper United Methodist Church.)
You're a musician who writes Blues music. It seems music has always been a part of your life from a young age, were your parents musicians?
I haven't always written blues, but have always loved the slide guitar and the feeling and atmosphere it creates. It is hard to write about something you have not lived. So in 2004 after moving to Nashville, I teamed up
with Mel Eubanks to write material for a "Blues" oriented CD entitled "Bluesball". There was no direction in mind except to have 10 really great songs. Each as good as the last.
I had lived long enough to experience the blues in various stages. Some mild and some very, very deep. As a writer, you want the listener to feel what you are feeling. That is the goal in my opinion.
My mother and father were musicians. Mama played piano and sang. My dad played guitar, harmonica and banjo and sang as well. My mother and grandmother would carry me to the nursing homes when I was around 3 yrs. old. They would put me up on a table with my little guitar and my cowboy attire and I would sing for the residents. At 6 years old I actually started learning to play guitar.
What was the first tune you learned?
The first song I learned was "On Top of Old Smokey."
What is the one thing you love most about making music?
The one thing I love most about making music and writing is the fact you can touch someone's life with a song. Positive songs are like 3 minute mini books and sermons.
What draws you to Blues and country music in particular?
I have always been drawn to blues and country music because of the mix of the music and the real life story the songs tell. I also love the fiddle and pedal steel guitar sound. I have been writing a lot of country gospel songs because of a life experience in April 1989.
Who has been the biggest musical influence on your life? What lessons did that person teach you?
I don't know who in particular has been my greatest musical influence. There are quite a number of them. I would have to say my family most of all. I learned to like all kinds of music early in life. While my older sister and brother do not play any instruments per say, I listened to everything they brought home. My brother is 10 years older than I am so I was listening to Motown artists, rock artists, folk artists and people like James Taylor and Jim Croce & Gene Pitney.
I heard my parents play everything from Andy Williams, Henry Mancini, Hank Williams, Dolly Parton & Ray Price to easy listening music. The Wells family were a tremendous influence as well with mountain and country songs.
Which famous musicians do you admire? Why?
There are a lot of famous musicians I admire. Some for their playing, some for their writing and some for both. Merle Haggard is a great singer, songwriter and guitar player. I admire Kris Kristopherson’s songwriting a lot. Stevie Ray Vaughn, incredible guitar player. Chet Atkins is another whole different style.
I think Eric Clapton is very well rounded in every aspect. His playing, singing and writing. You really can't put Eric in a box.
Describe your first instrument.
The first real guitar I learned on was a real wood Roy Rogers guitar my daddy had. I searched and found another one like it in almost mint condition a year or two ago. It was made in 1958 and still has the original strings on it!
My first real electric guitar was a Telestar made in the 60's. It's shape was similar to the Fender Stratocaster.