Marshall-based guitarist Jake Kershaw released his first album, “Piece of My Mind,” when he was still in high school – a 2017 recording filled with the blues-rock fire that wowed audiences and turned him into a teenage, Michigan music phenom.
Now 19, Kershaw has learned a lot since, acknowledging that when he decided to pursue a music career after graduation he thought he’d “grab the world by the throat and just whip it around.”
That hasn’t been the case. Instead, he’s spent time exploring and navigating the music business and figuring out “how to go about things in the right way.”
He’s also expanded his musical horizons and deviated from the blues-rock thrust of his earlier work as prepares to record his sophomore album at Grand Haven’s Third Coast Recording Co.
“When I was in high school, I was blues-rock all the time. It was Joe Bonamassa, Jonny Lang, Tommy Castro and Tab Benoit on my phone 110 percent of the time. That was all I listened to,” Kershaw conceded.
“As I got out of high school, I started listening to more genres. When I went down to Nashville, I was obsessed with country. I recently got into bluegrass with the banjo.”
He also started delving into “modern takes on rock and blues and some pop.”
Consequently, his latest songs lean more heavily toward pop and a “hodgepodge” of styles, though he insists he doesn’t want “to lose the blues” in his music either.
Like other musicians, Kershaw has seen a cessation of touring during the stay-at-home environment caused by the recent COVID-19 pandemic, but he insisted that it’s also been a productive time period.
He said he’s been getting organized, continued to hone his musicianship and developed “a new set of skills” that will be useful when his career officially resumes post-coronavirus.
And he connects regularly with fans during weekly live-stream concerts, playing alone from his home through Facebook live while being able to see “everyone’s comments right in front of your face.” In some ways, he said, it helps “break that wall” between performer and fan.
Kershaw and his band still have some late summer and fall performances on the books, and continue to release new singles and lay the groundwork for the next album.
— Find more West Michigan music news and live-stream concert listings at LocalSpins.com. Email John Sinkevics at firstname.lastname@example.org.