Guitar playing started as a hobby for Jesse Hendricks after he graduated high school in Stockton in 1994. At the time, he had no plans to make it a career. But now, 20 years later, it’s a full-time gig, bringing Hendricks to wineries, weddings and event centers around California to share his rumba and flamenco-style guitar music.
“It’s something you keep plucking at because you love doing it,” he said.
Hendricks, who lives in Stockton, was inspired by his travels to Italy, Argentina and elsewhere in South America and Europe to hone in on a world music sound with Latin and Middle Eastern elements and rhythms.
The challenge is in finding the right niche to perform in. The instrumental music isn’t something people identify with right away.
His sound is heavily influenced by the Gypsy Kings, a flamenco style band from France who founded the style of music Hendricks now calls his own. Watching street performers who played with determination gave Hendricks the drive to keep perusing the kind of music he loved.
“It’s really fun music to play,” he said. “It gets people moving.”
The Lodi/Stockton area serves as a convenient home base for Hendricks between gigs. His style is that of a solo entertainer act, something atmospheric during a party or event. He loves the nomadic aspect of his work.
Hendricks holds a degree in Italian literature from San Francisco State University. School gave him the chance to travel to Europe with study abroad programs, but it was when he took time off to pursue music that he found his true calling.
“It’s always been a passion of mine. I like to pursue something to the fullest and see what happens with it,” he said.
Since 2002, Hendricks has released new music yearly to give fans an idea of what to expect at his performances. This year’s batch will be released online in the coming weeks.
“I just plug away and hopefully create some music this area will like,” he said.
Contact Sara Jane Pohlman at firstname.lastname@example.org.