Local performer and Texas Southmost College (TSC) professor Dr. Jonathon Dotson arrived for his scheduled interview carrying his guitar case. Hopes for an impromptu performance were quickly squelched, however, when he revealed he’d only brought it with him because it was too hot outside to leave the valuable instrument in his vehicle. “This guitar is worth more than my car!” said the guitarist, gently setting the case close to his chair.
Dotson, originally from St. Augustine, Fla., is an instructor of music at TSC and an adjunct professor of classical guitar at the University of Texas-Brownsville (UTB). Donning rumpled khakis and rust stained T-shirt, and coupling a few days’ worth of stubble and a soul patch, the affable Dotson looked more like a college student than the owner of a Doctorate of Musical Arts from UT Austin.
Dotson, in his late 30, was a self-professed professional college student, starting his academic career at age 18 and culminating it in 2010. He has been teaching and performing in the Rio Grande Valley since then, dividing his time between teaching Music Appreciation and guitar, performing local and road gigs – both alone and with his two other groups (Isla Flamenca and the Texas Guitar Quartet), and hosting an acoustic guitar night every Wednesday at the Half Moon Saloon in Brownsville. He loves to teach, proudly mentioning two students who just graduated from his program. “I am excited to turn students on to new music. I get to geek out in front of a 100 people about Beethoven!” he said laughing.
Dotson began playing guitar at age 7, coming from a musical household where both parents played guitar. “They actually met at a picking party,” he said. After going through the requisite Jimi Hendrix/Jimmy Page period, he focused his guitar studies on the classical genre. “I play from three to eight hours a day, it’s my passion. Pop is my hobby, where I can cut loose,” Dotson said, citing Paco de Lucia, Segovia, Bream and David Russell as some of his influences. Dotson noted that, “Despite the recording industry being in turmoil, the classical world relies on patrons and is very lucrative.”
Dotson travels extensively for gigs and is currently preparing for a one-month tour in Spain nest week and a trip to Mexico in September. While he loves traveling and touring, he says the lifestyle does have its downside. “I’m a really busy musician, get called away a lot. The only issue is it keeps me from getting regular gigs locally,” he said. Despite this dilemma, Dotson’s schedule is jam-packed. “I play a lot of private gigs, weddings, and bar mitzvahs,” he said.
Dotson’s new CD, entitled, Musica del Camino, will be released in August. The young professor is an exciting performer, with sublime technique and capable of playing a vast array of musical styles. Those who get the opportunity to see him play are bound to walk away with a memorable musical experience.
To find out more about Jonathon Dotson, check out his Facebook page or visit his website at Jonathondotson.com.