The Coast News Group
Ceekay Jones is performing over two nights July 15 and July 16 in Encinitas. Photo by Staley
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Jones ‘finds the pocket’ of success in new sound

ENCINITAS — From underground hip-hop to hardcore rock to gentle pop?

That’s the meandering musical path Ceekay Jones has been on and where he now finds himself.

“I’ve had a very blessed career in music,” Jones, 37, said.

But music wasn’t always in the picture.

Jones, a former professional snowboarder and Junior Olympics skier who grew up in Taos, New Mexico, somewhat stumbled into music when a knee injury put a halt on any further downhill slope aspirations.

That first band he was in, Tabularasa, kicked things off for him and he hasn’t looked back since — a predestined road that he was supposed to be on.

That led to career of wide-ranging  musical styles for Jones, from performing underground hip-hop in Los Angeles to being a part of the New York hardcore scene, as the lead singer for Skarhead.

“It’s just been this wild roller coaster ride,” he said.

Though the roller coaster he’s been on has found a brand new track.

Touring with Skarhead all around the world had its moments, but it wasn’t resonating with him anymore, he explained.

“Here I am listening to singer/songwriter stuff back stage in my headphones and then going out on stage and doing hardcore music, so I realized there was a big thing happening inside of me that was a kind of battle.”

That all came to a head in 2010, when Jones decided to take a step back and focus on his own personal message that he could offer as a solo artist.

He started playing guitar, and writing songs rather than raps.

The music on his debut six-song EP is decidedly different from his earlier material.

“I’m in the lane,” he said of his new music. “This is expressing exactly how I’m feeling musically.”

Last year, while on tour with the band OPM in Europe, Jones unveiled his new sound — just him, his songs and his acoustic guitar.

And what about the fans of his hip-hop and hardcore music? Would they follow?

He was surprised to find they would.

“I was willing to lose fans to gain new ones,” he said. “All in all, I really have been shocked in that sense, that even the really super hardcore, underground hip-hop heads and the thrashing hardcore punk rock fans have all been open and stoked on what I’ve been doing,” he said.

That was all he needed to feel he was on the right path for sure.

“I found the pocket,” said Jones. “I know this EP sounds very stripped back and I wanted that, but I’m going to be putting out a full-length album definitely by the end of the year if not right at the beginning of this next year.”

Jones still brings some of the older material on stage in an attempt to show that side of his musical abilities, but he’s aware enough not to fall back on it.

His performances today, feature a lot of technology like using live production loop pedals and drum machines.

“I’ll throw down some raps here and there, just to show that hip-hop background,” he said.

Jones is bringing his new sound to Encinitas in two shows over the weekend.

He’ll be performing at Mr. Peabody’s (136 Encinitas Blvd.) July 15 at 8 p.m. and at the 1st Street Bar (656 S. Coast Highway 101) July 16.