Award-Winning Guitarist Jimmy Patton Returns to Wine Country
When guitarist Jimmy Patton takes a seat in front of his audience, it’s always a bit of a crapshoot as to what type of show they will be getting. A human musical roulette wheel, it’s the diversity in Patton’s shows that keeps his fans coming back for more.
“If someone were to describe me as a musician and what makes me unique, they would probably say that I’m versatile when it comes to playing different styles of music,” Patton said during a recent interview. “I love to play Latin, jazz, classical, blues, reggae, top 40 and funk; just a little bit of everything. For me, too much of one thing can make me lose interest (in playing) pretty quickly.”
Patton gained notoriety in 2001 when he took first place at Guitar Center’s “Best Unsigned Guitarist in the Nation” competition. His uncanny ability to play two guitars – both melody and accompaniment – at the same time helped him triumph over 3,000 musicians all over the country. Patton has since been signed by Pacific Records and has recorded two albums to date.
San Diego-based Patton has had the privilege of playing in exotic locales like Hawaii and Colombia and had to chance to open for Grammy award-winning jazz musicians Stanley Jordan and Terrance Blanchard.
One thing Patton does not do, however, is sing so he relies on his audience to give him a little help with the vocals.
“When I perform as a solo, it is strictly guitar instrumental music and people can expect me to play more popular music,” he said. “I love to see people’s reactions when they recognize a song that I’m playing. Sometimes, if there’s a group of people, they’ll play kind of a ‘Name That Tune’ and even start singing along.”
A regular performer in the Temecula Valley, Patton has a number of shows coming up in the area; both as a solo artist and with the popular contemporary-Latin duo, Jimmy and Enrique, who will take the stage at The Cellar Lounge at Ponte Vineyard Inn on Saturday, February 22nd and Thursday, March 5th.
“Performing with Enrique has been amazing. Not only does he play percussion, but he sings while he is doing it,” Patton said. “He is extremely good at connecting with our audience and knows exactly what they want. We also read each others’ minds while playing so there is definitely a lot of chemistry there. We also never plan out what we’re going to play so there is quite a bit of spontaneity as well. He definitely keeps me on my toes.”
While Patton’s solo setlist is all over the musical map, Jimmy and Enrique’s show focuses exclusively on high-energy Latin dance selections from artists including the Gipsy Kings, Santana, Enrique Iglesias, Marc Anthony, Celia Cruz, Maluma and more.
“We love to watch the salsa dancers do their thing and some of them are extremely good,” Patton said. “It’s not an easy thing to do.”
A married father with a six-year-old son who can schedule gigs as many as six days a week, Patton recognizes the sacrifices his family makes for his career. He urges any young person interested in pursuing music professionally to understand how difficult the road ahead will be and consider any opportunities that may present themselves in such a competitive industry.
“There are many other ways to generate income other than just performing. And, quite often, they will need to wear different hats in order to be more financially stable.” Patton said. “My best advice would be to just keep an open mind.”