Part virtuoso and part storyteller, you might say that Jacob Johnson does with a guitar what Gene Kelly did with dance. Although his songwriting has won awards and his guitar-playing has put him on stage with Tommy Emmanuel and Phil Keaggy, his ability as an entertainer is what has won fans throughout the southeast. He refers to himself as "a ham that just wants to be on stage" but he's much more than that. Jacob is an amazingly talented guitarist and songwriter which, combined with a bit of a personality, makes for a wildly impressive stage performance.
Johnson began playing when he was 10 years old, thanks primarily to his grandmother. "She played with pickup bands back in the '40s," he says. "When country acts would tour, they would just book a band in whatever city they were playing in. So she played with Ernest Tubb and Hank Snow and a lot of people like that. She taught me the first three or four chords I ever learned and said, 'Jacob, if all you ever learn on the guitar is these three or four chords, you will always be able to pick up a guitar and play songs for people.'"
"He was one of the first players who got into two-handed tapping, alternate tuning, that kind of stuff. At a certain point I decided to focus on the acoustic guitar because there was just something about it. It seemed like this was the instrument that was going to give me my voice; that would allow me to develop my singing and songwriting in a way that my electric playing didn't."
Since dropping out of college in 2007, Jacob has traveled the country in (so far) six mini-vans, honing his craft, and making friends and fans along the way. Most of these were friendly now-forgotten faces that offered a warm meal and a couch to sleep on, but some were able to offer more. Such was the case with Grammy-nominated Australian guitar legend Tommy Emmanuel. Emmanuel put Jacob, as his opening act, on such notable stages as The Birchmere in Virginia, The State Theater in Maine, and The Newberry Opera House in South Carolina.
The songs and performances that developed in those touring years became the basis for Jacob's most recent album, "One-Take Jake". "One-Take Jake" features 11 of Jacob's most requested songs recorded live in-studio with no-overdubs. The songs range from his own award-winning "The Ferryboat Waltz", to his unique take on the Disney classic "Chim-Chim Cheree" by the Sherman Brothers. Few mistakes slip through the raw, understated production, but they underscore an important truth. While his talent may seem otherworldly, it's not magic. It's real, which is even better.
What those in the know are saying about Jacob Johnson:
"Johnson sounds like Norman Rockwell paintings and the open road. He is a virtuoso, expressing a working comprehension of dozens of techniques and styles. He has blended and blurred the lines of genres to craft a sound he calls 'Neo-Acoustic Folk/Funk'."
- The Florence Morning News (Florence, SC)
"Jacob is a great performer who has a way with words that will cause even the most curmudgeonly person to grin. The world needs more talent like this."
- Mossip Music Blog
"He surrenders to the passion that drives his guitar playing... Very entertaining and inspiring."
- Maine Music Blog
"Part of the new breed of folk musicians who make their own rules"
-The Savannah Morning News (Savannah, GA
An eclectic talent with the voice of a fallen angel, the witty intelligence and whimsy of a Monty Python skit, and a musical diversity matched in scope only by the variety of wildlife she's worked with, Genevieve is one unique artist you won't want to miss.
Balancing sweet and sexy, smart and sassy, Genevieve is an all-around entertainer, a charismatic and unique talent who has been wowing audiences as a singer/songwriter since first taking the stage at 6 years old.
It's possible to categorize her as an adult-contemporary artist because of the depth and sentiment of her lyrics, but her music spans multiple genres, incorporating elements from folk traditions to blues and jazz nuance to pop hookiness. And, with a voice blessed with impressive dynamics and range, she shifts seamlessly between sultry and Scotch-soaked chanteuse to pure Disney princess in a matter of notes. It's not surprising that her music and her voice have found homes in a variety of mediums, from tv/film and commercials to video games and educational programs.
After several years in the biz, she felt burnout approaching, so she took a sharp left and disappeared into the South African bush, using her other skills as a writer and photographer to pursue another passion in life: wildlife conservation. For several years, she ran around after animals, documenting them for local and international NGOs and managing to not get eaten by anything (though she did get bitten by a cheetah). And while she did maintain a tether to the musical world through a connection in Cape Town (where she did session work on the rare times she WAS in civilization), she still felt a musical void. She did get the opportunity to sing a Zulu lullaby for a Pampers commercial, though, so that's something.
However, due to limited time around technology, musical opportunities were rare. Most days, her audience consisted of little more than meerkats, lions, and rhinos. At one point, she even taught music classes to children on one of the reserves she worked on, few of whom spoke any English, which was possibly more challenging than not getting eaten by a lion. It was all good for a story, but not for a career. The musical beast was starving and needed feeding, which meant stepping out of the wilds of Africa and back into the, well, wilds of music. So she returned to the US.
Now back in the US, she's hitting stages and gracing soundtracks with her timeless tunes and stellar voice.
"Like Belle on a bender" - I don't know who said this, but I so wish I did
"Fabulous musical talent, and has the super creative gene that just keeps on creating!" - James O'Connor, dHarmic Evolution podcast series
"Genevieve is probably a relatively unknown name for most people, or at least for now. This young and versatile singer/songwriter has a very wide range of influences and is an absolute vocal talent. With her strong vocals and natural sound she connects to the listener on a very personal and comfortable level." - Inner Ear Media
"Wow! What a powerful soulful voice and wide melodic range! Genevieve takes you on a wonderful ride with her mixture of up-tempo happy-sad songs, fun tunes and powerful ballads." - Lori Doswell, CD Baby
"I'll tell what can't ever be called a "little thing"-Genevieve's voice. Her voice is the cornerstone from which she builds off tremendous songwriting. The sound is a bit of contemporary pop mixed in with roots folk and piano ballads. Most singer/songwriters wish they had half this much talent. " - Smother Magazine