Jeff Coleman and the Sons of Jefferson


Jeff giving a private show out of the Naked Lounge Photo credit: Ben Hacker

Jeff Coleman is a Chico State alumni, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and ring-leader of the eclectic bluegrass punk band, Sons of Jefferson. However, Coleman can’t emphasize enough that his band Sons of Jefferson has zero correlation to the proposed State of Jefferson in California and his music is driven by “joy and not angst.”

Jeff grew up in Redding and comes from a musically inclined household. Alongside his father, Jeff began playing electric guitar at a young age. He quickly progressed in his musical abilities and mastered numerous instruments. He notes that his ability to play many instruments as well as sing allows him to essentially fill in whenever needed in almost any musical setting.

In his youth, he played in a variety of different bands ranging from punk rock to afropunk, folk and bluegrass. He states that these musical experiences helped him develop his unique sound which he describes as, “Slow enough to dance to, but fast enough to actually move to.”

Upon graduating from Chico State, Jeff went into the food industry and became a professional chef. However, due to a cancer-related illness, he unfortunately lost some of his eyesight and was forced to retire from the profession. He turned to music and began to take it more seriously.

Jeff 1_web.jpg
Photo credit: ben hacker

After some time, he moved to the Santa Cruz area, which he describes as being the mecca for like-minded musicians and artists. Here is where he formed the original Sons of Jefferson group.

Yet, two and a half years ago, he moved back to Chico and reassembled the Sons of Jefferson with new members.

Now, the band is made up of himself, Eric Hall, Mandalyn May, Matthew Weiner, Matthew Songmaker and Vera Bridges. Coleman also mentions that the band is incredibly diverse in skill and age, with their youngest member Matthew Songmaker being only 18 years old.

Moreover, their instruments are less than conventional. Aside from the classic guitars and drums, they play fiddles, banjos, mandolins and more. Coleman describes their sound as “separate from traditional bluegrass.” Jeff also credits the band’s particular sound and energy to their utilization of a technique known as cross picking, which allows them to play the melody and rhythm at the same time, one of their many skills.

Jeff plays solo, as well as with Sons of Jefferson at numerous venues in Chico as well as surrounding areas. Their next show is March 10 at the Maltese with The Harmed Brothers. Jeff states that the band will be in full force and they will definitely be playing second, since bands rarely like playing after them.

So if you’re looking to hear some truly original bluegrass punk, contact Jeff on Facebook under Sons of Jefferson or stop by the Maltese March 10 to see what it’s all about.

Jackson Sawa can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_arts on Twitter.