Young Florida blues rock champion Champ Jaxon is set to perform


He’s an 11-year-old blues rocker who has performed at bars and festivals throughout Southwest Florida and even shared the stage with southern rock legends The Marshall Tucker Band – twice.

Now, Punta Gorda’s Jaxon Field will rock an even bigger stage with a national TV audience: “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”.

The episode – recorded December 2 in Los Angeles – airs today at 4 p.m. on local channel ABC7. Jaxon says he chatted with the show’s guest host, country superstar Brad Paisley, played his new single “Born in The Grove” and even played with Paisley to close the show. episode.

“It was an incredible experience,” he says.

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So how does an 11 year old fall into the blues, of all things?

“I have my dad to blame for this,” he laughs.

Father Nate Winkler, 41, has always played in blues-rock and southern rock groups like Gov’t Mule and the early Rolling Stones. “He kind of put me in it,” Jaxon said, “and it kinda stuck with me.”

“I just liked the groove of it,” he adds. “The mix of jazz, rock, blues and all that is kinda together. Especially the guitar duels. I love it. And I love the way it sounds.”

A defining moment came early on: Jaxon was only 3 when he saw The Allman Brothers Band with his father and grandparents at a music festival in Live Oak, Florida.

The singer / guitarist doesn’t remember much of the show, he admits. It was more a question of feeling and emotion.

“It was like midnight,” Jaxon said. “I slept for half of the show. But the part I saw was like seeing fireworks. That’s kind of all I remember. Just the sounds.

The blues-rocker of Punta Gorda Champ Jaxon

Subsequently, Jaxon found himself paddling on a ukulele that he had brought with him to the campsite. It’s a musical fire that never went out, and Jaxon finally switched to the guitar.

“I just wanted to be an Allman brother,” Jaxon says. “I didn’t know what it meant, but I wanted to be an Allman brother.”

Jaxon started taking guitar lessons at the age of 6 and eventually accompanied his father – a musician who now plays rhythm guitar in Jaxon’s band – on open mic parties. “I played guitar and he sang a song or two sometimes,” Winkler says.

This motivated Jaxon to train more – he plays guitar for at least an hour every day – and he performed for his first official concert in March 2019 at the Big Storm Brewery in Cape Coral.

“It’s funny,” says Winkler, “because at the time, I think Champ knew maybe five or six songs. “

Punta Gorda's Jaxon Champ shares the stage with the Marshall Tucker Band in May 2021 at the Ranch Concert Hall & Saloon in Fort Myers.

He knows a lot more now, of course. And his musical career has only grown since then.

Jaxon has performed with the Marshall Tucker Band twice – once in an Alabama amphitheater when he sat down to lead guitar for an audience of around 6,000, and again last May when he performed at the Ranch Concert Hall & Saloon in Fort Myers.

He and his band, The Champ Jaxon Band, released their debut album “The Grove” in early December. They are expected to play a cruise ship this summer. And now they’re getting major national exposure on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”.

Jaxon isn’t sure how the show’s producers found out, but he’s glad they did. They flew to Los Angeles on December 1 and filmed the episode the next day in front of an audience of around 100 to 200 people.

“It was crazy,” Jaxon said. “It was a little weird to see the whole thing. … I was a little nervous in the green room while waiting to go out. I mean, I always knew in the back of my mind that if I messed up horribly, we could do it again. But I didn’t want to have to do this.

Blues-rock singer and guitarist Champ Jaxon de Punta Gorda

Jaxon’s two segments don’t happen until the show ends, he says. In the first segment, he plays the new single “Born in the Grove”. Then he talks to Paisley and they play guitar together. “We kind of blocked the show,” Jaxon says.

Her father, of course, couldn’t be prouder. And it’s not just because of her son’s sizzling guitar hits.

It’s also thanks to Jaxon’s work ethic and sheer determination.

“We hear words like ‘prodigy’ all the time, and it’s great …” says Winkler. “But the kid is really, really dedicated and he trains every day.

” He loves it. Wakes up playing guitar, falls asleep playing guitar. There’s all this behind-the-scenes stuff that we’re really proud of. People think he was just born with a guitar… but the secret is training, you know?

To learn more about Champ Jaxon and his music, visit champjaxon.com.

Connect with this reporter: Charles Runnells is an arts and entertainment reporter for The News-Press and the Naples Daily News. Email him at crunnells@gannett.com or connect with Facebook (facebook.com/charles.runnells.7), Twitter (@charlesrunnells) and Instagram (@ crunells1).

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