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Jumpin' & Jivin' Juneboree

By Don Coble don@claytodayonline.com
Posted 6/15/23

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Austin James finds peace when the volume is turned up, the windows rattle and the walls shake.

The 13-year-old from Orange Park doesn’t just play guitar. He lives it. He …

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Jumpin' & Jivin' Juneboree

Posted

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Austin James finds peace when the volume is turned up, the windows rattle and the walls shake.

The 13-year-old from Orange Park doesn’t just play guitar. He lives it. He found solace the first time he clutched the frets and strummed all six strings.

His father died when he was 7, and he quickly found music was the way to fill the void and vent his anger.

“Ever since then, I’ve gotten into it and taught myself everything,” James said.

“AJ’s” life changed nearly two years ago when he met local guitarist Paul Wane’s launch of his Guitars for Kids/Rising Star Program at the American Legion Post 250 in Middleburg. Wane gave AJ a guitar, and with it came hope.

“He’s an amazing kid,” Wane said. “He’s one of the first to go through our program. Now he’s coming back.”

AJ’s band, CDB, which stands for Could Be Different, will perform Saturday at Wane’s annual Jumpin’ and Jivin’ Juneboree at the Boogerville Hideout Bar in Green Cove Springs.

The day-long celebration will include a bounce house, dunk booth, yard games, reptile encounters, face painting, magician, vendors, and fireworks. But the highlight of the event will be music – and another instrument giveaway to the first 200 children.

“We will have goody bags for the kids,” Wane said. “Each one will have an instrument, T-shirt and a jump rope. After all, that’s why it’s called ‘Jumpin’.’

Wane will play a solo set, and he will be joined by his bandmates from the Duval County Line.

The party starts at 3 p.m. and ends with fireworks at 9 p.m. Admission is free.

Wane said he has guitars, keyboards, drum kits, bass guitars and violins to give away.

The performance by AJ’s CBD means his envision to empower children through music has come full circle.

“To give him his first guitar and to have him come back is why we do this,” Wane said.

And the student can’t wait to show his teacher how much he’s learned.

“We dove into the music, and Paul is one of the best guys I’ve known in music,” AJ said. “He’s gotten me out there, and I’ve played in his music events. I’ve gotten out there a lot. I really appreciate him for that.”

While he can play five different instruments, AJ settled on lead guitar. He’s also the lead singer in his band.

“When I first started, I started on drums,” he said. “And my mom’s boyfriend, Dave, taught me the basics. And then I just leaned on myself and I taught myself guitar, bass, guitar, keyboard, saxophone. I just started going into it, and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is gonna be my future.’ And then I started getting into it, and I started playing live, and it just gave me a place in my heart that I really wanted to do. And I’m still pursuing it.”

AJ said Wane also will make a surprise guitar donation.

“I love helping people out,” he said.

AJ said in addition to his mother and Wane, Blistur founder Chris Kellam and Big Engine frontman Tony Mikus played a significant role in his development.

Although this marks the second Juneboree, Wane said the event already had surpassed his wildest expectations.

“It’s only building because of the love and the generosity of this community,” he said.

Boogerville is located at 6043 U.S. Highway 17. For more information, visit paulwanemusic@com.