Born on December 31, 1991, in Phoenix, Az., Jonathan came into this world with a lot of obstacles to overcome. His family lived in Yuma Az., at the time, where Jonathan grew up. He was born 16 weeks early and spent the first 4 months of his life at Good Samaritan Hospital in Phoenix. He had a trach tube at two months old and he had surgery on his eyes trying to prevent the possibilities of blindness. He had failure to thrive, and received a feeding tube at the age of 2, which was removed at the age of 5. He was unable to speak and used sign language to communicate up until about the age of 6 when he learned to vocalize. At about that time he also learned to eat. He was in and out of hospitals the first 2 years for pneumonia and issues with gain weight. Jonathan suffered from ROP (Retinopathy of Prematurity) a disorganized growth of retinal blood vessels causing his retinas to detach, causing blindness.
Jonathan was always intrigued by music and the world of audio. We had wind chimes at the house and Jonathan loved them. When Jonathan was around 5 he started taking an interest in his dad’s acoustic guitar. He would lay it on the floor and he learned how to play it that way. He was 5 years old when his sister began piano lessons. He would listen for a short time and then he started picking up the songs she was playing. He was playing piano before he could even talk. When he was 6, he started his own piano lesson which he excelled in. During this time he also taught himself how to play the harmonica. Jonathan was also able to teach himself how to play drums, at the age of 6 or 7, which he played in the church band for a quite a few years.
A friend at church, Hap Young, was playing his pedal steel guitar and that is when his life changed. Jonathan made several trips to Hap’s house to listen to the steel and to even play a little. Jonathan loved the instrument. Hap checked on the Steel Guitar Forum to inquire of any blind steel guitar players. He received a reply from a couple of kind-hearted gentlemen that were willing to donate, refinish, and ship Jonathan his first pedal steel guitar. It was a Sho Bud Maverick student model E9 with 10 strings, one knee lever and three pedals. Jonathan was 11 years old when he first put a set of finger picks on. Hap proceeded to show Jonathan some triads and teach him a few songs after that he really took off on it. We took him to the Steel Guitar show in Mesa, Az. and some of the local jam sessions in Phoenix, AZ.
At a particular jam session David Wright and Hal Rugg were present and he had his Sho Bud set up and played his little heart out. David seen him play and he immediately came over to Dad and said that Jonathan was going to be playing a brand new MSA guitar soon. That same day Jonathan had the opportunity to play on a showcase with both David and Hal, what a treat! Since Jonathan began playing the steel he has been to the St. Louis shows, Dallas TX shows, and he played in the Ottawa Blues Fest, in Ottawa Canada. He’s been to Nashville, which is his favorite place. He is a member of the SWSGA (Southwest Steel Guitar Association) and plays their annual shows in Phoenix Az.
Jonathan moved from Yuma, AZ with his family when he was 20 and now lives in Phoenix AZ. He graduated high school at ASDB in Tucson, Az (Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind) in 2013. Jonathan’s passion is playing music, producing music, engineering, and making beats. Jonathan is very talented in numerous instruments, steel guitar as being his favorite. Jonathan graduated college with Certificate of Completion in computer information technology.