Banjo player Jake Eddy enjoying progress in musical career

Photo by Jeff Baughan
Jake Eddy, left, and Steve Hussey share a microphone during a concert at West Virginia-University Parkersburg.

Photo by Jeff Baughan Jake Eddy, left, and Steve Hussey share a microphone during a concert at West Virginia-University Parkersburg.

PARKERSBURG — The last five weeks have been quite a ride for Jake Eddy.

He released a single this week “Never Too Late,” with Breyer White of Parkersburg and Stephanie Filson of Belpre on Apple Music, Spotify, Google Play and others. He was the producer, writer of music and co-author of the lyrics with White and Filson.

Then there was a concert at West Virginia University-Parkersburg with Steve Hussey and Jeff Ray; opening with Hussey for Travis Tritt at the People’s Bank Theater in Marietta. There was the Vandalia Festival in Charleston over the Memorial Day weekend where he was named West Virginia’s top banjo player of any age.

“Yeah, it was a pretty good time,” he laughed and smiled. “Steve and I, we’re finishing the month with a June 30 performance at the Black Bean Burrito in Morgantown and then July 1-3 we’re at the Purple Fiddle in Thomas. So yeah, this has been a pretty good year. I signed with Merf Records. I already have more dates signed this year than I had at this time last year. Steve and I are doing more original music and releasing more music. We’ll probably perform some new material during those dates.”

(Somewhere, amongst all that there is Joe Walsh singing “Life’s Been Good To Me So Far.”)

Photo by Jeff Baughan
Jake Eddy sits in a swing with his pup Wally at his grandmother’s home in Parkersburg.

Photo by Jeff Baughan Jake Eddy sits in a swing with his pup Wally at his grandmother’s home in Parkersburg.

For “Never Too Late,” Eddy played bass, drums, piano, vibraphone, auxiliary percussion, shared the guitar playing with White and sang some harmony vocals. That’s all from a 17-year-old who is spending his summer before his senior year at Parkersburg South High School. “Every instrument I can play, I own,” he added. “I can play up to 10 different.”

Eddy plays the electric bass in the South marching band, the guitar in the school’s jazz band and percussion in the symphonic band. But this is summer and Eddy is busy with his music. “Summer for me has been work,” he said. “I work whenever the inspiration hits me. Whether that is during the day or 2 a.m. at night. I’m writing, playing, producing.

“I enjoy making music in general,” he added. “The banjo is my favorite but I love producing. The whole process; writing, playing, producing… I like being able to do the total package. Things are starting to work out that way for me,” he added with a smile.

Eddy performed on his first “tour” and that was a 2014 bluegrass tour with Melvin Goins and Windy Mountain. “Most of that was during the summer and during the school months, we played on weekends,” he said. “The coolest part of that tour was the fact I got to play with my grandfather then.”

“Grandfather” is Al Barnett of Pettyville. “They needed a bass player that evening and grandpa stepped in for a show,” Eddy said. “Afterwards, they offered him the chance to finish the tour as the bass player. Yeah, touring with grandpa. That was a pretty cool time.”

Photo by Jeff Baughan
Jake Eddy won the title of West Virginia’s best banjo player, of all ages, during a contest at the Vandalia Gathering in Charleston during the Memorial Day weekend.

Photo by Jeff Baughan Jake Eddy won the title of West Virginia’s best banjo player, of all ages, during a contest at the Vandalia Gathering in Charleston during the Memorial Day weekend.

There is one thing “even cooler than that and more satisfying,” he said. “That’s professional recognition. That’s watching Travis Tritt perform from backstage instead of a seat in the audience. That’s sitting in the People’s Theater eating a bowl of soup with his bass player before the show. The abnormal things most people don’t get to see or do are becoming the normal things.

“It’s walking around a festival ground and seeing artists I recognize, recognize me and use my name when they speak or greet,” he continued. “They see me on an equal level. It’s been a while in the making. It feels good. I love it.”

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