Common Chords by Randall Hill
During a recent warm afternoon, guitarist Jeff Watson lifts his son Jonah in the air at the family’s basketball goal outside of their Conway home. The 2-year-old, the middle child of Jeff and Annie Watson, stretches his arms up and laughs uncontrollably as he dumps a basketball in the hoop.
The couple’s 6-year-old daughter Wren is nearby, drawing a hop-scotch pattern in chalk with a neighborhood friend.
They have raised their children while pursuing individual career dreams.
“He supported my dreams right off,” said Annie Watson from their daughter’s upstairs bedroom. The Marion native was taking a short break from straightening the house after returning home from work as a child psychologist with the Horry County Schools. “He supported me as I finished my degrees and would supplement our incomes with bartender jobs.”
“Now it is his turn,” she said with a large grin.
His role as father and musician are at different ends of the spectrum explained Watson as 4-month-old Garrett lies in his arms. The youngest Watson is enjoying a bottle of formula as his siblings play a dancing game nearby. “During the day, I’m like the house-husband taking care of these little rugrats as they go around the house,” he said. “I’ve got the kids running round and shuttling them to school, changing diapers and making bottles.”
After sundown, the roles change.
“At night I’m tuning guitars, playing gigs, dealing with club owners,” Watson said. “It’s about getting home late and getting up early. You gotta be like a Frankenstein sometimes and come out of bed and walk around and do what you gotta do.”
The 39-year-old Watson is excited about a new gig: lead guitarist and background vocalist for the local Josh Brannon Band. It’s his first experience with a country band, but Watson adds a little musical wisdom to the group.
“They are a little younger than me and in some cases a lot younger. But they have their heads on straight and keep everything together,” he said.” We’ve written some good songs and I’m enjoying the country guitarist role a lot.”
There have been good gigs and bad in his career as a guitarist along the Grand Strand, where he said he has played at almost every venue and bar.
“I know there’s a rainbow at the end of everything,” Watson said. “No matter how bad the night is going or how well, I’ve got this wonderful family waiting for me at home. You know when you reach down and give them a kiss or cover them when they are cold, nothing else matters.”
Watch this music only video of the Josh Brannon Band song: "Hope This Feeling".
Watch this music only video of the Josh Brannon Band song: "Home in Carolina".