Jemison trucker finalist in talent contest

Published 12:46 pm Friday, June 21, 2019

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By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Jason Henley of Jemison is a finalist in the Overdrive-Red Eye Radio Trucker Talent Search.

Three finalists out of the more than 50 submissions were announced on June 19. They will compete with a live performance at the Great American Truck Show in Dallas, Texas in August.

“The two other guys are very talented,” Henley said.

For his entry, Henley chose to perform an original song “Nebraska Drop n Hook.” His entry can be viewed on YouTube.

Henley said entries were required to be recorded in the person’s house or truck and could not be edited or enhanced.

“I stopped and recorded the morning of the day it was due on the side of the interstate and sent it in,” Henley said.

According to the Overdrive website, “The first-place winner will receive a full day in a professional recording studio, complete with mixing and producing, and backing provided by a professional percussionist and a professional bassist.”

Later, Henley was notified that he had been chosen as one of the top 10 semi-finalists.

Now, Henley is preparing for the August competition by further developing his song and practicing.

In addition to working on his song, Henley is also working on losing weight before the big day.

Henley said he heard about the opportunity from a friend who is also a musician and works with trucking publications.

Henley completed his CDL at the age of 21 and has been working in the trucking industry off and on ever since.

“I was in love with music for as far back as I can remember,” Henley said, commenting that some of his relatives played the guitar.

After a few months of lessons, Henley turned to the internet for resources on learning to play specific songs.

“I got my first real guitar when I was about 10 years old,” Henley said. “My uncle actually bought it for me.”

Henley spends his weekends playing music with friends and performing with the local Holler Stock House Band.

“I used to play professionally locally for a couple of years when I had the opportunity, but then, I had to go back to work because there’s not much money in it,” Henley said. “During that time, I made a lot of connections with a lot of musicians, and we started opening our home up and doing little jams.”

Those jam sessions grew into a weekly event where musicians were required to play with people they did not usually play with.

Now that Henley is driving during the week, the music gatherings are once about every three months.

He is planning on building a stage on their property for these events to have a better place to play.

Henley said there will be people from all 50 states and several countries attending the Great American Truck Show.

He said this will be his first year attending.