Making your dreams come true is everyone’s goal. For some, it takes a lifetime to reach their aspirations, but for one lucky 17-year-old it came early. For Joseph Seth Jolly, Jr., that moment arrived September 21when he played in front of a crowd of 10,000 people with his hero, blues legend Buddy Guy.
Jolly learned to play the guitar at an early age thanks to the encouragement of his parents. His father, Dr. Joseph Jolly, runs the Native Gospel Ministry in Ottawa and is quite the guitar enthusiast in his own right. For the past 32 years, Dr. Jolly has included his musical passion as a part of his ministry.
Growing up, his father would buy Jolly Jr. small guitars to help him learn the instrument but the boy didn’t show much interest. He liked music, Elvis in particular, but wasn’t attracted to picking up the guitar.
When Jolly Jr. turned 10, his father introduced him to Creedence Clearwater Revival, a band that would become one of his main inspirations. CCR’s sound sparked something in him. Since then he has practiced the guitar diligently and his love of music has grown.
Soon, Jolly Jr. was enrolled in guitar lessons but quickly overtook the pace of learning and quit to progress on his own.
As he made his way through his teenage years, Jolly Jr. learned many of the classic guitar songs from Wipeout by the Ventures to Paint It Black by the Rolling Stones. His interest in rock and roll soon morphed into that of the blues with Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughn as his new guitar idols.
A major part of his learning experience was going to concerts with his father. Jolly Sr. said, “I never listened to the blues before, so Joseph was teaching me a lot about it.”
The most important thing about his growing love of music was the constant support the younger Jolly received from his parents, who made sure that he had what he needed to improve.
Even as the price for guitars increased along with his need for better quality, his parents never stopped supporting him. This taught him the importance of value and Jolly Jr. learned to save up on his own and sell his used guitars in order to cover the costs.
On August 26, Jolly Sr. took his son to see Buddy Guy in Chicago during a book signing. While there, they visited Guy’s nightclub where Jolly Jr. got the opportunity to show the blues legend his musical talents. An impressed Guy told him that if the teen came to one of his shows he would invite him onstage to play.
That moment came with the help of his parents on September 21 when the Jolly family travelled to Winnipeg, where Jolly Jr. performed with Guy in a dream come true.
Upon returning to Ottawa, Jolly Jr. entered a guitar competition at Redeemer Christian High School, where he is a student. After coming in first place, Jolly Jr. was qualified to represent his school at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association of Canada’s Rock the River event on September 29 in Ottawa.
Jolly Jr. credited his experience playing with Guy for being able to handle playing in front of a large audience. In the end, he won the contest, but the real victory was that of a dream come true – thanks to his supporting parents.