Fishman Artist // John JeansonneRascal Flatts make a lot of good country music. But it wouldn't be all that country if it wasn't for guys like John Jeansonne. He's the one who rosins up his bow and plays his fiddle hard during every Flatts show, and he's been doing it for seven years. But this self-taught Louisiana boy has been playing for 30.
"When I was 7, I saw a guy playing the fiddle in a bluegrass band out in the middle of nowhere," Jeansonne told me. "And something just kind of clicked. I told my dad 'I could play one of those if I had one.'" After a year of pestering his parents, he got a fiddle for his 8th birthday. (His grandfather traded a saddle for that fiddle, but that's another blog for another day.)
"I was able to pick out simple little tunes right away. Like 'Twinkle, Twinkle,'" he said. But he never really got the hang of reading music. That doesn't seem to bother the guys in Rascal Flatts, though. In fact, they really make Jeansonne a big part of their live show. On paper, he may be a backing musician. But he spends plenty of time at the front of the stage. "Since I've been with these guys they've always done stuff like that," he said. "It makes me happy, because the more I get to play, the more fun it is."
And Flatts probably like the fact that Jeansonne's work ethic is crazy strong. "Being on the road with the guys is like going on a field trip when you're in junior high. We have lots of fun, with jokes and pranks and what not. But I spend most of the day practicing in the dressing room of the venue," Jeansonne said. "When I'm learning a new song, I can just listen to it and play it in my mind. I know where my fingers are going to go before I even pick up my fiddle," he explained. "It's like an addiction. The learning just never stops."