Over the last year, Jason Findley has emerged as a sought after solo musician among area venues.
“I started because of my older brother really,” he says of how he first got the music bug. “He started playing guitar when I was really young. When he’d come and visit, he would bring his guitar and I was up his butt all the time watching him play guitar.
“By the time I turned 12, this guy gave me a guitar off the bed of his truck, just an old beat-up guitar. It had no case, no nothing—and he just handed it to me and said, Here, have at it.” The benefactor had been a friend of a family friend, someone Findley “kind of knew.” “I cannot for the life of me find that guy,” says Findley. “Because if I could find him, I would shake his hand and thank him.”
Findley still considers it one of his prized guitars, “It doesn’t play very well now, but used to I’d swear that it was one of the best sounding guitars I’ve had.”
That was a big step up from the tiny acoustic guitar that Findley previously had, and he reveals a sentimental streak by saying that he still owns the gifted guitar. “It’s one of those guitars that I will always have.”
From there, Findley continued to play through high school, crediting small town life in Laurel Hill and Paxton as the force that kept him tuned into music. “Of course, growing up in the middle of nowhere, there isn’t a lot to do. I’d go to school, come home, and play guitar. I’d play for hours on end, just listening to CDs and playing through those CDs.”
After a stint in Auburn playing music with his brother, Findley struck out on his own and landed in Fort Walton Beach. “I’d like to think it’s going pretty well,” he says of his building reputation in the area.
He paints his sets and song selection as bit of a free-for-all. “I’d love to see any and everybody, hear what kind of things they request, and see where I could change things up. I try to play so many kinds of music, so I cover a lot of different genres and decades of music.”
A given set for Findley is a mix of the ‘90s alternative rock he grew up with, plus songs from the Allman Brothers, Pink Floyd, and everything in between.
Findley also has an original song or two up his sleeve, and he hopes to expand his catalog. “I just have to figure out how to get into a groove at some point and put out more original songs. It’s a work in progress.”
That groove may be further interrupted by his upcoming playing schedule, which includes weekly gigs at Hog’s Breath in Destin Mondays, AJ’s Tiki Stage Thursdays, Fokker’s Pub in Fort Walton Beach Fridays, and KC’s Sandbar in Fort Walton Beach Saturday afternoons.
“I’ve never played six gigs in a week until this past year,” says Findley. “And all of a sudden, it’s GO! GO! GO!”