He’s been called an old soul as much as his given name. His talent has been described with such phrases as “once in a lifetime” and “lightning in a bottle.” Jake Kohn appears to be your average 16-year-old boy, but when his voice fills the room, it becomes clear why these descriptors have become second nature to fans and music journalists alike.
It’s not surprising fans draw comparisons to artists like Joe Cocker and Janis Joplin when they hear that rich, raspy baritone, but perhaps the more inexplicable characteristic of Jake’s music is his songwriting. If you didn’t know better, you would swear Jake has experienced all the trials and tribulations of a full life. His songwriting may not be autobiographical, but it paints an accurate picture of the struggles and hardships many Americans face, particularly those in Appalachia.
Born in Winchester, Virginia, home of Patsy Cline, Jake is no stranger to country music. While Jake doesn’t come from a musical background, he grew up listening to legends like Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash with his father, Erick. At 11-years-old, Jake was gifted a guitar from his great grandmother. He taught himself to play chords from a poster on his wall. His mentor, Buddy Dunlap, would allow Jake to come and play at his barn, teaching him some tricks of the trade along the way. It was this same year, Jake discovered one of his biggest songwriting influences, Justin Townes Earle. Jake continues to draw inspiration from his music and guitar style.
Jake will tell you he penned his first “good” song at 12-years-old. With the support of his mother, Maria, he began playing live shows locally, often at places he otherwise isn’t old enough to get into. Jake began receiving encouragement from local artists such as Logan Moore from Low Water Bridge Band. Though he hasn’t released music on streaming platforms, you can find Jake’s music on YouTube. It was there his manager, Ashley Wells, found a performance of that first “good” song he ever wrote, “Fraterville, TN.” With her help, Jake began traveling outside of Virginia for shows. Earlier this year, Jake’s video for “Frostbite” went viral. He has been on an upward trajectory since. At 15, he had already developed a following and was being approached by industry professionals.
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