Johnny Jensen: A blues prodigy
Johnny Jensen, a 14-year-old Captiva native, discovered music at an early age. By age 4, Jensen picked up drums and began playing along with his uncle’s band, the Troublestarters.
Even at a young age, Jensen, whose family owns Jensen’s Twin Palm Cottages and Marina on Captiva, was inspired by classic rock icons.
“I was really into Keith Moon and The Who,” Jensen said.
By age 10, he picked up another instrument: a guitar.
“My influence there was more Led Zeppelin. I love bands from the ’70s,” he said.
Over the years, Jensen has taken music lessons from Daryl Best of Alliance for the Arts and Joe Giangreco, the music director at The Sanibel School, but, for the most part, he is self-taught.
At age 12, Jensen attended the Berklee College of Music’s summer camp in Boston, Massachusetts. Jensen has plans of heading there for a week again next summer to study music theory.
“It’s been a great influence for me,” he said. “A summer camp in Nashville is also on the horizon.”
Jensen regularly plays at Fort Myers Music Walk and at his family’s resort. He is also heavily involved with the Allstate Choir.
In September, Jensen decided to give whatever he makes in tip money at the Fort Myers Music Walk to F.I.S.H. Between his last two performances, he has given $73 to the organization.
Most recently, Jensen competed in the Southwest Florida Regional International Blues Challenge in August. Last month, he made his debut at the Sanibel Blues & Jazz Festival which is put on every year by the Sanibel-Captiva Optimist Club.
“It was an amazing experience. It’s something I’ll remember forever,” he said.
Jensen counts The Marty Stokes Band who also played at the festival, as one of his blues influences.
“Since the blues festival, I’ve also been listening to Matt Schofield,” Jensen said.
Jensen also credits Joe Bonamassa and Robben Ford as having influences on his music. So far, he has recorded a total of three songs. Jensen plans to record the final versions of each of the songs at his Uncle Jimmy’s recording studio.
For Jensen, his songwriting process begins with a simple beat.
“I get a beat in my mind then I start laying down lyrics,” he said.
Currently, Jensen owns six guitars. A few of his favorites are his Gibson Les Paul Standard, a Fender Eric Clapton Stratocaster and a Gibson SG.
Besides playing music, Jensen maintains an interest in sports – he regularly plays soccer, basketball and tennis.
“I do a lot of boating, too,” Jensen said.
Jensen’s upcoming live performances include Fort Myers Music Walk Dec. 15 and playing a show at Jensen;s Twin Palm Cottages and Marina on New Year’s Eve.