Local singer/songwriter/guitarist Jamie Woodfin recalls his first trek to Nashville back in 2009 as a kind of key inspirational turning point.
Woodfin, who is originally from Ponoka and runs his own construction company, has long been drawn to making and performing music. He first picked up guitar when he was about 13. A penchant for the drums and a powerful singing voice soon surfaced as well.
Local audiences can hear him and his band Feb. 4 during an evening function at Heritage Ranch. Folks can come for dinner, a sleigh ride plus the performance or just the show itself.
Through high school, he played in band called The Dirties that were refining their own unique punk/rock sound. But as he grew older, Woodfin, who is now 28, began to find country music extremely compelling. A few years back, he was working in Fort McMurray and connected with a man who had a basement studio.
“We started playing music and jamming together, and the country music just started coming out. That’s what I’m into now – country rock.”
The honesty and raw emotion that is a common thread to the genre is something he finds most striking. It’s also the type of music that suits him perfectly as a vocalist.
Along the way, these explorations into country music led to unexpectedly meeting new friends in Nashville through YouTube. They invited him to visit them in ‘Music City’ and before long he was on his way.
In the spring of 2009, Woodfin had a space of time to finally go. He drove down and was promptly mesmerized by the city’s rich creative character and musical heritage.
“It’s a place I want to eventually live in part-time for sure,” he says. “I absolutely love it.”
Not to mention experiencing the delight of visiting the Grand Ole Opry and running into country superstars like the down-to-earth Garth Brooks and his lovely wife Trisha Yearwood at a local restaurant.
“We went over and talked with him, and I could hardly talk,” recalls Woodfin with a laugh. “He asked me what I was up to, and I told him I was down there to learn about Nashville and do some songwriting.”
Woodfin then waited outside for Brooks to pick up his food order, so he could have a photo taken with him.
“He went out the back door, and I thought is he dodging us? But he came back and said we might want a picture with his wife, too. So we got all these pictures, and then he takes the camera and he’s taking photos. It blew my mind.”
Not surprisingly, Woodfin didn’t much feel like coming home. The trip also included a stop at Elvis Presley’s birthplace in Tupelo, Mississippi. It was amazing to think that such profound talent originated from such a small, simple and unassuming house.
“It puts you in awe,” he says, reflecting on the journey as a whole. Plus it injected him with fresh inspiration for carving out his own niche in music. Being in a place where almost everyone you meet is somehow connected to the music industry is also a meaningful experience.
“Music is like this voice that speaks to everybody,” he says, commenting on what keeps him excited to pursue his art.
Meanwhile, Woodfin keeps busy entertaining folks locally at various gigs plus playing at The Hub and the Red Deer Hospital. He’s clearly devoted to his craft and grateful for the opportunity to share it anytime with audiences.
Ultimately, it’s all about being real and Woodfin has no trouble being open and authentic about his own life and experiences. He believes that regardless of the genre, if you offer listeners what’s in your heart they will respond.
“I think the biggest thing with any music you do is that you have to make sure you’re not doing something that isn’t you.”
For more information about the Heritage Ranch show, call 403-347-4977.