JJ Lawhorn is a force certainly not to be reckoned with. His talent and ambitions were recognized early on, and by the age of 17, JJ found himself with a record deal and a dream. He moved from Virginia to Nashville in 2011 with the mission of bringing his songs to life. With a strong support system behind him, JJ Lawhorn released his debut album “Original Good Ol’ Boy” in the summer of 2013. Despite his young age, the album really expressed JJ’s depth and maturity as an artist. Unsurprisingly enough, the album caught fast attention. Still skeptical? Well the numbers have it; JJ went on to sell over 100,000 single units, which is quite a feat for a breakout artist in our current state of technology. JJ has also created a very strong online presence—he has garnered over 10 million YouTube views, has over 110,000 Facebook likes, and has over 8,000 Twitter followers. JJ has recorded four music videos in support of his solo works; “Sittin’ On A Tailgate,” “Stomping Grounds,” “You Can Tell A Man By His Truck,” and “Good Ol’ Boys Like Us,” as well as two collaboration videos; “Answer To No One” with Colt Ford and “Field Party” with The Lacs.
JJ Lawhorn spent much of 2013 and 2014 touring the country, playing shows and promoting his album. He has recently taken some time off the road to write and record his highly anticipated sophomore effort, with hopes of a late 2015 release. However he is very eager to get back on the road, see his fans, and play his music. JJ Lawhorn's unquestionable country boy swagger along with his adept ability to express himself through song construct the ultimate live music experience.
Guitarist Eric Congdon channels Chet Atkins
Guitarist Eric Congdon has a low-key virtuosity. His finger-picking guitar style radiates both skill and charm, and his instrumental material incorporates everything from blues to bluegrass. Whether playing solo or with a small ensemble, Congdon's forceful yet delicate style doesn't flaunt as much as it insinuates. The N.C.-based Congdon has been playing for 30 years, and he fell in love with the fingerpicking style early on.
“I just love it,” he said, “whether it's blues, country or anything else. It's just being able to play the rhythm, the chords and everything yourself.” “It's really challenging to do it right, but it's fun. You're almost like a whole band in one if you can do it.” Congdon counts Tommy Emmanuel and Rev. Gary Davis among his influences, but he started with one of the best guitarists ever. “I love Chet Atkins, and digging into his music is how I learned about Tommy Emmanuel and a lot of other players,” he said. “And it was just a process of digging and listening to albums and watching videos.”Though Congdon has focused on instrumentals, he's written more than 500 songs, many of which also have lyrics. He's refreshingly blunt about why he's moved toward instrumentals.
“I've written a lot of songs with vocals, but to be honest, I don't think I'm a particularly good lyricist,” he said. “I've found that a lot of what I was trying to say was clichéd, and I decided to think about the music for a while. So I dug into the melodies and chords, and I found my voice that way.” Congdon says that even without lyrics, his songs can be autobiographical. “I know a lot of the songs I've composed are very emotional,” he said. “I have one on the new CD, a really simple acoustic jam, that's called 'The Second Kiss,' which is about my second child Emily, who's autistic. And if you listen to the music, you can hear there's some bittersweet longing in the music. I try to think along the lines of, 'What am I trying to convey musically?' And to say that without words is very challenging.”