Jeffrey Lynn Fulks Jr. now known as JL Fulks was born in Greenville, South Carolina in 1990. At age 13, he began playing guitar, after being inspired by his father's love for the blues. JL’s immediate prowess with the instrument led to him joining The Praise Band at a local Christian School and in church. When his father noticed his son’s abilities, he gave him the Stevie Ray Vaughan album "Texas Flood" and told him, "If you're going to play guitar, play it like that.” Soon after, JL joined an original rock band in high school. The group ended up winning his high school’s “Battle of the Bands.”
In 2009, JL formed a rock band called "Until Next Time", with three musicians from the local music scene. The band was very popular in the Greenville, South Carolina region and eventually won a "Battle of the Bands" competition, sponsored by Gorilla Productions. The band parlayed their success by winning the finals at Greenville's premier music venue "The Handlebar". They were subsequently voted Greenville's best rock band and were awarded free recording time at Sit-n-Spin Studios, as well as a headline opportunity at The Handlebar. Things were looking up for the popular band as several independent labels were interested in signing them, but creative differences among the members led to the band breaking up before any success could be achieved.
Undeterred by the band's break up, JL decided to further his musical knowledge by studying jazz with Adam Knight, an instructor at the University of South Carolina. Under Knight, JL's musical evolution branched out to jazz, blues and other styles.
When his family moved to South Florida in 2011, JL continued his musical education by enrolling with Berklee College of Music's online extension program. This afforded him the opportunity to study with some of the world’s best music instructors. While studying with Berklee, JL began making a name for himself in South Florida by performing at open jams and sitting in with local bands.
It wasn't long before his abilities were recognized and JL was being asked to sit in with many national acts. He has shared the stage with such names as: Robert Randolph & The Family Band, Matt Schofield, Chris Duarte, Mac Arnold and the Plate Full of Blues Band, Victor Wainwright & The Wildroots, Selwyn Birchwood, and many more.
Persistence paid off when JL was approached by Brandon Santini in the fall of 2013. After seeing JL perform at the Funky Biscuit one night with David Shelley and Bluestone, Santini asked JL to play guitar for his band. JL relocated to Memphis, Tennessee in December of 2013, after three successful tours to play full-time in Brandon Santini's band.
JL worked as Brandon's right hand man for eight months where he opened the show for Brandon and drove the band as his lead guitarist. He toured the mid west and headlined with Brandon at many great blues clubs such as Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago, and performed frequently on world famous Beale Street. Larger showcases became the norm as the band performed at some great blues festivals such as The Daytona Blues Festival, The Springing the Blues Festival, and the Southwest Florida Blues Festival where they opened for legendary blues guitarist Johnny Winter.
After JL's performance at The Southwest Florida Blues Festival, he was told by Johnny Winter's manager that Johnny was impressed by his guitar playing and that he wanted to meet him. The Blues legend and the young guitar phenom had an encouraging conversation about music and life. That night lives on every night he plays his Gibson ES-335 that Johnny Winter signed. Although now, to honor Johnny and to preserve the valued instrument, JL mostly plays a new, Heritage H535.
After eight great months of touring and performing frequently on world famous Beale Street and gaining invaluable road experience, JL felt it was time to move on to projects of his own and begin work on his new EP. He returned to his hometown of Greenville, South Carolina to begin writing and planning a launch of his own band. Soon after we relocated back to South Florida and formed a trio with Ken Burgner & Ian Jones.
In 2016, JL & his band won South Florida's Regional Blues Challenge and made it to the Semi-Finals at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN. Shortly after he released his self written and produced EP "On Down The Road" featuring award winning Blues artist Matt Schofield. The EP charted in three charts on the Roots Music Report and received many great reviews and plays worldwide. In October of 2016 JL was nominated for two IMEA Awards, Blues Song of The Year, and Blues Artist of The Year. JL won Blues Song of The Year and performed the winning song at the Tucker Theater in Nashville, TN for the 2016 IMEA Awards.
Now, at 28 years old, JL Fulks has already lived the dream that most musicians work their whole lives to achieve. JL's band has opened for Tab Benoit, Doyle Bramhall ll, Donavon Frankenreiter, Atlanta Rhythm Section, The Ragbirds, and Robert Randolph & Family Band. JL is currently endorsed by Heritage Guitar Inc., GHS Strings, Mojo Hand FX, and Cusack Music. He is also touring nationwide and is planning to start touring internationally in 2018.
JL's latest release entitled 'Who I Am' is now available on all major online music platforms.