Jameson Burt's love for music emerged at the age of 12 when his dad, an avid rock fan and hobby guitar player, placed a 1960-something Yamaha acoustic in his hands and encouraged him to start playing.
"My desire to be in a band with some kids on my block is what really got me into it," he laughs. "We played instrumental garbage slop. We were terrible."
The singer-songwriter has come a long way since then, singing backup with the popular "melodic rock" band Ecco Ecco, formerly Steve Carson Band, with whom he's released a couple of records, and captivating audiences on solo tours along the West Coast and in New York City with his raw, powerful voice and magnetic stage presence.
Just like the whiskey he's named after, the bluesy folk-rocker starts out smooth and sweet, delivering darker and more fervent notes as the set rolls on. He's top-shelf quality at an affordable cover charge.
More recently he formed the group Jameson, a six-man band known for its intense, guitar-driven sound and blues-rock influence.
Consisting of bassist Dave Beste, lap steel guitarist Justin Burrow, drummer John Wilson, singer Pavla Dlab and Dallas Kruse on B3, accordion and percussion, Jameson will give a performance Tuesday at Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa, alongside Billy Kernkamp and the White Buffalo.
"Detroit is one of my favorite venues to play," Burt said. "The crowd is always energetic and that gets me pretty high."
Swayed by the classic rock legends his dad exposed him to at an early age, Burt, who still plays that old 1960s Yamaha that he said, "has gotten wiser sounding with age," combines the minimalist story-telling that is reminiscent of Bob Dylan with various elements of other artists like Joni Mitchell, the Beatles and Bjork.
"I sing about whatever rattles my cage," he said. "We, as people, go through a lot of the same experiences. I always found it comforting to hear someone else sing about the things I didn't myself want to say aloud, so I hope my music does the same for my listeners. It's a cathartic process."
Combined with its core-shaking acoustics, Jameson's relatable and profound lyrics about love, freedom and the human condition, stir up emotion in its listeners, making shows an equally cathartic experience for the audience.
"I guess you could say the theme of my music is 'ouch,'" Burt said. "But as I grow as a musician and as a man, I'm finding hope in my personal experiences which I [convey] in my songs. Reaching people through my music makes it valuable. It's all I care about doing."
Currently working on an album with Henson Recording Studios in Los Angeles and another full-length solo EP, Burt said he hopes to release another album in early 2011.
For more information about Jameson or for a schedule of upcoming shows, visit http://www.myspace.com/Jameson.
If You Go
What: Live performance by Jameson, Billy Kernkamp and the White Buffalo
When: 9 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Detroit Bar, 843 West 19th St., Costa Mesa
Cost: $10 cover
Information: (949) 642-0600 or http://www.detroitbar.com