For local musician CJ Briscoe, music has always been his heartbeat. Born in Fort Worth but raised in Nashville, his taste for music started at a young age.
“I was surrounded by music and musicians all the time between the places down there we’d hang out at church. It was a really big music scene with amazing musicians in the church bands,” CJ said.
His parents’ role in his love for music can’t be overlooked. They introduced CJ to all the hits from the 60’s to the 90’s and gave him his first instrument for Christmas at the age of six, a harmonica.
Faced with a 12-hour drive back to Tennessee from Florida, his parents feared the worst for the ride home with a six year old and his new noise-maker. But when CJ started playing the opening tune of Billy Joel’s “Piano Man,” they knew he had talent and put him in guitar lessons.
CJ took lessons with a teacher who reinforced his love of music until he moved to Texas. He put music down for about a year, then had to start from scratch and reteach himself. From there, CJ started gigging at Lucy’s on the Square when he was 14.
“My parents had to drag me to my first gig. I didn’t want to go; I was too nervous,” CJ said.
Clearly, the recovery from that first gig ended up all right. When he started gigging, he played more niche music that people didn’t recognize, but he noticed how the classic music he was raised on would perk ears. Slowly, his setlist began to take form as a mixture of 60’s to 90’s hits, classic rock, classic country, and really any music by request, which he has gotten his name for as a solo cover artist.
Once the pandemic slowed down, CJ began booking more gigs, especially in Downtown Celina, and around the DFW metroplex. He branched out of his comfort zone a year and a half ago, taking on the role as lead guitarist and songwriter for southern rock band Caleb Michael and the Arrested, who has been seeing their own successes. He has also recently started his own group, an indie rock band called St. Ivy. Though it was a learning curve at first, the band experience, CJ says, has been for the better.
“Being a solo artist, you can just be in your comfort zone all the time. When you’re playing with a band, sometimes for the greater good of the sound, you have to take up a different role…I feel like I’ve grown a lot from that,” CJ said.
Both bands have upcoming music releases, most of which were written by CJ, in addition to some personal music releases in the works. All of these projects have been behind the scenes along with building and opening of his own recording studio, Blue Bison Records, which he co-owns and serves as the lead producer for. The work is hard, but the reward is abundant.
“I get to do what I love and work with what I love. Whether it be playing for people, or writing, or recording, or whatever. I love all facets of music,” CJ said. “The creative realm. The creative space that I have; even just like day to day in solo shows and stuff like that is ideal for me. I would be lost in a place where I had no room to be creative.”
To keep up with CJ’s music, he is on Facebook and Instagram at CJ Briscoe Music and his debut EP “Radiate,” released August 11, is on all streaming platforms. You can catch him around Celina at his normal spots: Valley Vines every First Friday, Bongo Beaux’s every second and fourth Saturday, and of course at Lucy’s on the Square every Sunday.