By Jeffrey Allen Federowicz
For The Daily Item
DANVILLE — It takes talent to entertain an audience, skill to keep them interested and a mega dose of pure showmanship to enthrall a crowd with a performance that leaves them yearning for more.
Luckily for area music fans, JT Thompson embodies all these traits and does so while belting out the blues in a way that leaves the listener anything but sad.
On Tuesday, Thompson will bring the blues and a whole lot of energy to the Old Forge Brewing Company in Danville Jan. 8 for an evening of colorful blues and a red hot time.
“Music is my life. Like most musicians, I was drawn to it at an early age and playing music took precedence over everything else,” Thompson said. “I feel that it’s a gift I’m meant to share with people, to try and spread little joy.”
And he’s been spreading that magical, musical joy with regular gigs taking place several times each week throughout the state including in Williamsport and State College.
Although he was born and educated in Centre County, Thompson was musically trained at honkey-tonks and music clubs throughout the south. As a result, Thompson easily immerses himself in the music he plays, connecting with each note he pounds out on the keyboard or song he sings.
“My style is piano-based blues, boogie-woogie and honky-tonk. You can hear pop and jazz and New Orleans influence too,” he said. “I always play a mix of originals and covers with more originals when I play blues gigs.”
For his blues-infused gig at the Old Forge, Thompson will wow the crowd with his highly energetic style of piano playing and his soulful and animated vocals that add an extra charge to each song he performs.
His recent recordings, which feature a sampling of what a live performance is like, include “Chase Away Your Blues,” a solo effort released in 2009 and “This Way That Way” released in July 2012 featuring musicians from State College, Williamsport and Lewisburg.
“People coming to the show should expect to have a good time, maybe dance, maybe sing, maybe learn a little bit about the blues,” he said. “They’ll hear some songs they know and others they don’t know, but hopefully they’ll like them all.”