JL Fulks
Young Rising Blues Star.... But Not JUST The Blues

Jeffrey Lynn Fulks Jr. now known as JL Fulks was born in Fountain Inn, South Carolina in 1990. At age 13, he began playing guitar, after being inspired by his father's love for the blues. JL’s immediate prowess with the instrument led to him joining The Praise Band at Pleasant Grove Christian Academy.

When his father noticed his son’s abilities, he gave him the Stevie Ray Vaughan album "Texas Flood" and told him, "If you're going to play guitar, play it like that” after listening to the album that, that is what JL wanted to do with his life and has stuck with guitar ever since. At one time he considered being a professional golfer when younger and also studied mechanical engineering a little bit in college. But always knew that he was a performer. It's one of those things he just knew he was born to do.

This was the first of many musical inspirations as he honed his skills in The Praise Band. Performances both inside and outside of school led to shows with other bands and playing in diverse venues before bigger audiences, some as large as 5000 people. Playing in The Praise Band taught young JL a lot about music and he soon joined a rock group in high school. The group ended up winning his high school’s “Battle of the Bands.”

In 2009, JL formed a rock band called Until Next Time, with three musicians from the local music scene. The band was very popular in the Greenville, South Carolina region and eventually won a "Battle of the Bands" competition, sponsored by Gorilla Productions -- a local independent label. The band parlayed their success by winning the finals at a club called The Handlebar. They were subsequently voted Greenville's best rock band and were awarded free recording time at Sit-n-Spin Studios, as well as a headline opportunity at The Handlebar. Things were looking up for the popular band as several independent labels were interested in signing them, but creative differences among the members led to the band breaking up before any success could be achieved.

Undeterred by the band's break up, JL decided to further his musical knowledge by studying jazz with Adam Knight, an instructor at the University of South Carolina. Under Knight, JL's musical evolution branched out to jazz, blues and other styles. It was blues music that touched him the most. JL started writing his own blues songs and performing them throughout the area for most of 2010.

When his family moved to South Florida in 2011, JL continued his musical education by enrolling with Berklee College of Music's online extension program. This afforded him the opportunity to study with some of the world’s best guitar and music instructors. While studying with Berklee, JL began making a name for himself in South Florida by performing every night. JL began performing with a local cover band called "The Flyers" and recorded his first EP "Dixie Highway" with Patrick Farinas.

It wasn't long before his abilities were recognized and JL was being asked to sit in with many successful and talented musicians. He has shared the stage with such names as Robert Randolph & The Family Band, Matt Schofield, Chris Duarte, JP Soars and the Red Hots, Rickey Godfrey, Mac Arnold and the Plate Full of Blues Band, Victor Wainwright & The Wildroots, Damon Fowler, Southern Hospitality, Brandon Santini and his Band, Muggie Doo (Buddy Miles Express), Tom Holland (James Cotton Band), Boo Boo Davis, David Shelley and Bluestone, Bob Corritore, John Nemeth, Terry Hanck, Jeff Prine, and Patrick Farinas.

The Memphis Experience

Persistence paid off when JL was approached by Brandon Santini in the fall of 2013. After seeing JL perform at the Funky Biscuit one night with David Shelley and Bluestone, Santini asked JL to play guitar for his band. JL relocated to Memphis, Tennessee in December of 2013, after three successful tours to play full-time in Brandon Santini's band. Seeing how Brandon ran his band and how all the other Memphis bands did was a great experience. JL paid attention and picked up on everything. Now he is applying alot of what he learned to his own band.

JL worked as Brandon's right hand man for eight months where he opened the show for Brandon and drove the band as his lead guitarist and vocalist at every show. He toured the country and headlined with Brandon at many great blues clubs such as Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago, Bradfordville Blues Club, Boston's on The Beach, The Slippery Noodle, The Rum Boogie Cafe, The Blues Hall and many others.

Larger showcases became the norm as the band performed at some great blues festivals such as The Daytona Blues Festival, The Springing the Blues Festival, and the Southwest Florida Blues Festival where they opened for legendary blues guitarist Johnny Winter. It didn't take long before JL's guitar playing was noticed by blues editors, writers, and legendary musicians.

After JL's performance at The Southwest Florida Blues Festival, he was told by Johnny Winter's manager that Johnny was impressed by his guitar playing and that he insisted that she come find him immediately bring him backstage to meet with him. The Blues legend and the young guitar phenom had an encouraging conversation about music and life -- quite an endorsement for young JL Fulks. That night lives on every night he plays his Gibson ES-335 that Johnny Winter signed. Although now, to honor Johnny and to preserve the valued instrument, JL mostly plays a new, Custom Shop Gibson ES-339.

After eight great months of touring and performing frequently on world famous Beale Street and gaining invaluable road experience, JL felt it was time to move on to projects of his own and begin work on his new EP. He returned to his hometown of Greenville, South Carolina to begin writing and planning a launch of his own band.

the dream that most musicians work For

When asked how he would change the music business, JL replied. "I would change the course of blues music. I feel like a big part of my mission here on earth is to help revolutionize the blues. My generation does not get it. Simply because hardly anyone young in the blues is being promoted. The whole "you have to pay your dues to play the blues" mentality is killing the blues industry. I believe legends like Eric Clapton, BB King, and Buddy Guy could agree with me on this because they were all stars when they were my age. The blues is the only genre of music that does not primarily promote young artists. There needs to be a fad that gets the younger generation hip too the blues or it will certainly die. This a tough task to take on considering that the majority of young people are into electronic music. I have accepted the challenge and have been producing blues events that only feature young blues artists and will continue to for the years to come. I also am taking a whole new approach to the blues with my own music. I think if more musicians and artists accepted the fact that there will always be people better then them we could work more together. The reason why my band is so tight is because no drama or ego's exist in my band. We're a team and we work together just like the music community should."

Now, at 24 years old, JL Fulks has already lived the dream that most musicians work their whole lives to achieve. JL has relocated to South Florida and started fronting his own trio again performing at the best clubs and festivals in South Florida. JL continues to collaborate with many artists and plays as a part-time sideman for some legendary blues musicians. He is also a guitar instructor at the school of rock and is asked frequently to record on many artists records. The band just won the South Florida Blues Challenge so they will be representing South Florida at the International Blues Challenge in January. Right now the band is gaining a strong fan base in South Florida. Playing anywhere from Miami to Stuart, FL and headlining the biggest clubs in South Florida as well as opening up for some international acts. They just recorded an EP that was produced by David Shelley and plan to record an album soon. Catch this rising star at a venue near you!

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