His love for the piano started at the age of 6. His mother played and every time she did, he would lie under the piano and listen. When she would finish, he would get on the stool, place his hands on the keys and begin to pick out the melody of some of the songs he had heard her play. At the age of 8 he began taking lessons and it was recognized early on that he had “an ear” for music. Jeff’s parents began to take him to Gospel Concerts where he immediately fell in love with “The Piano Players”. As he began to grow older his love for Gospel Quartet Music began to grow as well. At the age of 15 he began playing for his father’s quartet, winning high school talent shows along the way. After Jeff graduated from high school he went on to major in Piano Performance at Western Kentucky University. Shortly after, Jeff was offered a job with The Blackwood Brothers playing piano for them for 4 years. He then moved on to be the piano player for The Rex Nelon Singers. While there, he received The FAVORITE YOUNG ARTIST AWARD by The Singing News Magazine. It was during this time that Jeff began to develop the art of communicating through his music. Featured on different solos each night, he would always seem to connect with the audience. To this day, Jeff credits Rex as one of his primary teachers and mentors. In 1990 he helped form PERFECT HEART. It was during his time there that he received his first MUSICIAN OF THE YEAR AWARD from The Singing News Magazine. As a member of PERFECT HEART, Jeff began to venture on his own from time to time doing solo concerts, where he would play dramatic standards of Gospel and Classical Music as well as hand clapping Southern Gospel favorites. His impressions of RAY CHARLES, FLOYD CRAMER, ROGER WILLIAMS and LIBERACE, to this day, are audience favorites. In 2002 he was offered an opportunity from LOUISE MANDRELL to put together a Quartet for her theatre in Pigeon Forge, Tn. Because of this, he helped form THE TRIUMPHANT QUARTET where he played for, arranged and produced their music for 12 years. Jeff also played in Louise’s orchestra on several occasions. During this twelve year span, Jeff was honored to receive a number of awards and recognitions. He was voted MUSICIAN OF THE YEAR in 2007 by the SOUTHERN GOSPEL MUSIC GUILD. He received THE FAVORITE MUSICIAN OF THE YEAR AWARD in 2009 and 2012 at THE SOUTHERN GOSPEL FANFARE. In 2007 he was voted into THE EDMONSON COUNTY MUSIC HALL OF FAME in BROWNSVILLE, KENTUCKY. In 2010 and 2011 he received GRAMMY and DOVE AWARD nominations for the album LOVE CAME CALLING, which he co produced with Wayne Haun. He produced and arranged the album SONGS FROM THE HEART which was voted THE FAVORITE ALBUM OF THE YEAR in 2012 for The SINGING NEWS MAGAZINE. He also received THE MUSICIAN OF THE YEAR AWARD by The SINGING NEWS MAGAZINE in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. 5 yrs in a row and 6 overall. This year he was awarded AGM Musician of The Year. Jeff’s music has afforded him the opportunity to travel all around the United States and Canada. He was honored to play his arrangement of JOSHUA FIT’ THE BATTLE OF JERICHO at the world-renowned CARNEGIE HALL on more than one occasion.
In February of 2014, Jeff went through a season of reflection and change. He enrolled in an intense discipleship program for three months. While there, he discovered God in a way he had never known Him before: “While sitting on a picnic table by a creek one afternoon, I felt God’s arms wrap around me. He drew me close and reminded me that he loved me unconditionally and that He had given me a gift to share…the gift of Grace. For 46 years I had known about God, but now I know how to BE with God. So now, I have a testimony to share and I have a new song to play as I start a new chapter for my life.”
Jeff is now in a solo career, doing Piano Concerts, producing projects for groups, soloists and other musicians and helping care for his parents. He is also currently enrolled and working on his Bachelors Degree from Louisiana Baptist University.
“THE BASIS OF MY PERSONAL WORTH IS NOT MY POSSESSIONS, MY TALENTS, NOT ESTEEM OF OTHERS, REPUTATION, NOT EXPRESSIONS OF APPRECIATION FROM MY PARENTS AND KIDS, NOT APPLAUSE AND EVERYONE TELLING ME HOW IMPORTANT I AM TO THE PLACE… I AM ANCHORED NOW IN GOD BEFORE WHOM I STAND, THIS GOD WHO TELLS ME ” YOU ARE MY SON, MY BELOVED ONE”
– BRENNAN MANNING