J.P. Falcon Grady and his band to welcome New Year at Nooksack River Casino

J.P. Falcon Grady, 44, who is proud of his Blackfoot heritage, was born in Browning, Mont., and grew up in parts of Montana, Indiana, Arizona and Washington.

He plays at numerous open mics in Whatcom County and was recently the guest musician at a Chuckanut Radio Hour sponsored by Village Books.

He also plays each Thursday at Main Street Bar & Grill in Ferndale, on Sundays at Packers Oyster Bar at Resort Semiahmoo and on Tuesdays at Via Birch Bay Café, with a special guest each week.

He and his band will bring in 2014 on New Year's Eve at Nooksack River Casino in Deming. For more on him and his music, go to jpfalconband.com.

Question: What brought you to Bellingham?

Answer: My dad is a college professor, and a job teaching at Western Washington University brought the family here to Bellingham in 1986. I graduated from Bellingham High School in 1989.

Q: Have you always enjoyed performing?

A: I have always had a love for music and at age 14 I started to teach myself how to play "Stairway to Heaven" on an old, beat-up guitar. It took me a good long while, but I learned it.

In high school I took a guitar class and failed, because I was busy teaching classmates how to play "Stairway to Heaven" instead of studying my lessons!

I was also involved with the school choir, swing choir, drama club and stage crew, that is how I was introduced to the stage.

When I was 19 I was asked to play a gig with the teacher who failed me in guitar class. It was a small private party and was my first paying gig, and although I had been on stage before in plays and with the choirs, I absolutely fell in love with playing music live and have been performing ever since.

Q: What kinds of music do you enjoy?

A: I have always been a Johnny Cash fan and would have to say he has been a big influence.

Other than that, I enjoy local talent, including Marcia Guderian, Andy "Badd Dog" Koch, Mike Thomas, the late Guy Mulford, Laurette Langille, Ed Smith, Daddy Treetops, Chuck Dingee, James Taylor, Johnny Brewer, Fat James, Jumbalasy, The D'vas and the Dudes, James Lee Harris, Bill MacDonough, Wade Larson, and the list goes on.

I love the fact that we have so many talented people in Whatcom County and so many wonderful music lovers. All of these local artists have been an influence or have had an impact on how and what I play and perform.

I love all the styles of music and play blues, folk, rock, reggae, soul, rhythm and blues, country western, classic rock and originals.

Q: Do you perform outside of Whatcom County?

A: I have toured parts of Canada, Hawaii, Montana, Idaho, Oregon and all over Washington state.

Q: Who's in your band?

A: A: I'm on vocals and rhythm guitar, Juan Plata Jr. is on lead guitar and Chuck Pendley is on percussion.

Q: How do you decide whether to play solo or with your band for gigs?

A: Compensation is key to how many musicians I use, because if I can't pay my band members, I can't expect them to play for free.