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July 25, 2013

A rare breed of entertainer

Nashville veteran performs benefit for local renovation

CHATEAUGAY — Jamie Lee Thurston is Jamie Lee Thurston.

It’s not a stage name. It’s his real name, which his parents picked as a cool name for an entertainer.

“They were obviously planning ahead,” said Thurston, who goes acoustic Saturday evening in the newly renovated Chateaugay Town Hall Theater.

Born in Montpelier, Vt., and the youngest of three, Thurston was raised in Waterford. His father, Jimmy, was a music man gigging the New England circuit. Thurston was named after one of his father’s bandmates.

“The first time I sang, he (dad) was holding me in his arms. I was 3. I watched him throughout my life and learned a lot from my dad. I like to think, as we go on in life, the way I live my life, I like to grow and be smarter and better than I was yesterday,” he said.

“So with the tools he gave me, I have worked hard to take those tools and try to get better at those every day, which is a challenge in the entertainment industry.”

At 15, he was his dad’s roadie, water boy, light guy and sound guy. After this dirt time, he jumped into the band after high school.

“I got a chance to do that, and then I lost that job and had to work my way up. That meant a lot of work, a lot of reading and trying to learn the most you can to be the best you can be. Hopefully today, I’m not the best I will be or tomorrow or the next month,” Thurston said.

Before he relocated to Nashville 15 years ago, he flew back and forth, bimonthly for two years. In the intervening decades of music making, he’s had three record deals, including Warren Brothers and a publishing deal with EMI that led to songs recorded by Trace Adkins and Montgomery Gentry.

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