North Augusta musician living life he never expected
When he initially thought about his future, this musician saw himself in the law enforcement field.
One night with some friends at karaoke changed all of that.
Joey “J.C.” Bridwell of North Augusta has been performing country rock for more than 20 years.
Law enforcement is nowhere near that, Bridwell said, laughing.
It was a country song he chose for his friends that night.
“After I got done, they asked, 'Where did that come from?'” Bridwell recalled.
They kept raving and commending him the rest of the night.
“I never really considered myself a great vocalist or instrumentalist,” Bridwell said.
In the early 1990s, Bridwell created his first band – RimFire.
A few years later, the band disbanded. But, Bridwell didn't stop playing. He performed alone or guest-played with various bands.
In the early-2000s, he became a member of The Savannah River Boys. The Boys' primary gig was as the house band for Augusta's Silver Bullet Lounge.
When Bridwell first experienced Nashville in the '90s, he was told that he wasn't going to make it; he wasn't “traditional.”
“Garth Brooks – that's traditional,” Bridwell explained.
His country side comes partly from his dad – a thorough country fan.
“George Strait – you don't get much better than George Strait,” Bridwell said.
While Bridwell is influenced by Strait and Brooks, he is also impacted by rock bands like Poison, Motley Crue and Cinderella.
“I think Cinderella is one of the most talented, yet more underrated bands,” Bridwell said.
Years later, after his initial arrival into Nashville, Bridwell met the musicians who now comprise his current band – the J.C. Bridwell Band.
These members include Bridwell as singer and guitarist; Jon Bailey as lead guitarist; Dave Brown as bassist; and Troy Holcomb as drummer.
“We eat together. We dine together. We hang out together,” Bridwell said. “We are always together, always rehearsing.”
According to his online biography, Bridwell and the J.C. Bridwell Band were eventually signed to Nashville's LSMG Records.
This independent record label “focuses on country and rock,” according to its online business profile.
The J.C. Bridwell Band doesn't just play country rock.
These four musicians play rock, R&B, classic oldies, current hits and originals when possible, but do cover songs, too.
“We do our own cover of the rock song 'Kryptonite' by 3 Doors Down,” Bridwell said.
These four Atlanta-area based musicians play throughout the Southeast.
“We are in Augusta quite a bit,” Bridwell said.
They are regular players at Wild Wing Cafe and Coyotes.
On May 31, the J.C. Bridwell Band are scheduled to perform at Coyotes starting around 9:30 p.m.
When Bridwell initially thought about his music future, he saw himself traveling the nation.
He saw himself as a mainstream artist.
Now, at 42, his dreams have settled.
Though it would be nice if that national-craze happened, “I'm OK with the fact that we might stay being regional,” Bridwell said.
If he were national, he wouldn't see his family as often, he continued.
He would be home for less time than he already is.
This singer-songwriter commutes often from his home in Cumming, Georgia, to his loft in Nashville.
“It gets hard sometimes,” Bridwell said. “It's nice to get love on stage, but you then miss those people who are there for you everyday.”
But, Bridwell sticks it out.
He lingers after shows, talks to those who turned out.
“I'm still getting used to people asking for my autograph,” he said.
For more information on Bridwell and his band members, visit www.jcbridwell.com.
Stephanie Turner graduated from Valdosta State University in 2012.