As the son of founding Seldom Scene member John Starling, Jay Starling had music in his bones from the start. From classical piano (he began at age seven) to delta blues and electric guitar, he was fascinated. By high school, he was reaching further, experimenting with drums, keyboards and electric bass. Nurturing a love for funk and fusion. After earning a degree in Psychology from Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, Jay took off north to study drums at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston.
A few years later, Starling returned home, B.A. of Professional Music in hand. He began playing electric guitar with regional band Mclaws Drive and keyboards with rock steady band The Transmitters. ” I really feel those bands helped me learn how to play with other musicians,” he says. “They were also ridiculously fun!”
One day after giving a guitar lesson at a local music shop, Starling was told he had a dobro student in 30 minutes. “Well, thats great,” he said, “but I don’t play the dobro!” To this, the manager replied, “You can figure something out.” After stumbling over a few licks, he fell in love with the instrument and the genre he had previously avoided. Five months later, he was playing the national bluegrass circuit with singer/songwriter Adrienne Young. Four months after that, Starling was invited to play dobro with tie-dye circuit staple, Keller Williams.
Over the past six years, Fredericksburg had become a musical “dojo” of sorts for Starling. With the amount of talent that existed in Fredericksburg and the surrounding areas, Jay was able to hone his practice over several instruments and genres. The time I spent in Fredericksburg after school was invaluable. I became a better player, met some amazing friends, and had a blast!” Starling also brought different kinds of music and players to the area giving the town a new musical dynamic. He thrived as a facilitator , introducing Charlottesville players to DC players to Richmond players etc. “Fredericksburg really helped me and I hope I did some good for it as well.”
Starling moved to Asheville in 2012 and is enjoying becoming part of a whole NEW scene.