Rock On, Jesse!
story by michael prochaska photos special
Madison native Jesse Triplett plays for Jay Leno, Morgan Freeman
When Madison native Jesse Triplett, 28, tours the U.S., playing for people of all ages and musical tastes, one thing stays constant – he always plays for God.
But last Wednesday was the first time he had someone who played God on the big screen in his audience.
“He was exactly like I thought he would be,” said Triplett, referring to Morgan Freeman, a guest on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, where Triplett performed. “He’s super classy. His cool factor is off the roof.”
After filming the show, Triplett, a guitarist, and the rest of the band accompanying country artist Jana Kramer, hung out with Freeman, Leno and the Tonight Show Band, talking about music and movies.
“I want him to narrate my life,” Triplett Tweeted soon after.
Triplett and band members even got to watch themselves perform that night at a restaurant because the late night talk show is actually filmed between 4 and 5 p.m.
Right now, Kramer and her band are on the road non-stop, playing almost every day and on tour with Brad Paisley, but back in the day, Triplett was playing gigs in downtown Athens and in Morgan County.
“He always knew he wanted to go into music,” said his father, Steve Triplett. “He shares himself through his music. That’s what he does and what it will always be.”
Triplett comes from a lineage of musical talent. His father a singer and his grandfather a singer-songwriter and pianist, Triplett began playing drums for Madison Church of God and his friends’ birthday parties beginning at age 10.
By the time he was 14-years-old, Triplett won a national drumming contest and at 16 was playing guitar and bass guitar for profit at venues in Athens.
“I think some people are born with some God-given abilities,” said his father. “But part of his gift is his drive. He has worked hard.”
Triplett admitted that in high school, he preferred spending summers at home playing guitar rather than going out.
His hard work would soon pay off thereafter. In college, Triplett joined a Christian band, Julian Drive, which jumpstarted his career and confirmed his love for music.
Even though Triplett is no longer with that band, he said religion is still very much a part of who he is.
“Everything that I do is based around my faith,” he said. “That’s the core of who I am.”
Printed in the July 19, 2012