When Jason Sturgeon sings about the simple life, hes not just painting a picture of small town America. Hes describing who he is. Born and raised in Petersburg, IN, (pop. 3500) Sturgeon grew up in a family of coal miners, oilmen and farmers who literally made their living off the land, and still do to this day. Running wild and free as the quarter horses he learned to ride and compete on from the time he was 14, he grew up listening to country music artists such as Kenny Rogers, Alabama, George Strait and the outlaws but indulged his rowdier side through acts like Pantera, Rage Against The Machine, and Godsmack, and all of those influences collide on his latest CD, the aptly titled, Thats Me.
An enterprising young artist from the start, Jason found a way to make money off of his talent early on. As a kid of 5 or 6, hed sing for the family at holidays and theyd give him quarters. "At the time Kenny Rogers was popular," Jason recalls, "and thats who I wanted to be when I grew up, so Id sing all the words to Kenny tunes for my family and theyd give me quarters at family gatherings. And a couple of years ago I had a CD release party with my band, and after the show was over we had a meet and greet, and every one of my family came up and each gave me a quarter. It was so funny?my dad was the first one to get to me, and he shook my hand and stuck it in the grip, and I said, Whats this for, and he said, "Well, you sang for us," and then it was my aunt, and uncle, and they all came up and gave me quarters! It was really touching, and I bawled like a baby of course!"
Watching his uncle, who was a great guitar player, inspired Jason even further, and he continued to sing in elementary programs, at church and school choirs. Jason also remembers taking long rides in the country with his grandfather when he was 13 or 14 years old. "Hed pop in a Michael Martin Murphy tape of cowboy songs while driving the back roads and I would sing to him," says Sturgeon. "He would tell me that one of these days I was going to be a country singer. He died in 2001 but I still have that tape and I keep it around just because of that?.Im still trying to do what he said I was going to do."
Jason begged his mom to let him take guitar lessons, but knowing where it would lead she refused at the time. "I played piano when I was younger?my mom wouldnt let me take guitar, because she knew if learned Id be up in a bar singing. Shes a hell of a lady, but thats just the way she thinks?Im not even gonna let you know how to play guitar because youll end up in a bar every night. And its funny it turned out the way it did, because thats exactly what I did when it finally came around! I finally started playing guitar about nine years ago."
Along with music, Jason was into horses big-time from the time he was old enough to ride. His grandparents on his mothers side had thoroughbreds he jockeyed from an early age, and he eventually started racing in AQHA open horse shows and placed 8th in the World Championship Show in Oklahoma City and 4th in the Quarter Horse Congress in Columbus. From 15 until 19 during the summers, he also worked in the oilfields for his family and learned to build, renovate, and basically do anything that needed done around the farm.