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Jason Eskridge / Levitt Amp Photo

Born and raised in Rockwood, Tennessee, Jason Eskridge is practically a hometown son.

Friends and family are sure to be in the crowd Thursday, Sept. 20, at Bessie Smith Cultural Center to hear the singer use his smoky baritone vocals on funk, R&B, gospel and his own soulful originals at the Levitt Amp Concert.

Opening for Eskridge will be Jermaine Purifory, who just returned from touring with The Impressions in Japan.

If you go

› What: Jason Eskridge

› Where: Bessie Smith Cultural Center, 200 E. M.L. King Blvd.

› When: 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20

› Admission: Free

› For more information: 423-402-0452

Folks at Jazzanooga, which presents the Levitt Amp series, say his covers of artists such as Sam Cooke, Prince and Sly and the Family Stone are sure to get the audience dancing.

Eskridge played football at Tennessee Tech University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering. Although he accepted a post-graduate engineering position with NASA in Huntsville, Alabama, he couldn't shake his passion for music.

So he waited until his job's 401(k) was vested, then packed up and left Huntsville to move to Nashville to pursue music full-time. He quickly booked a wide array of background vocalist work and a recurring role as host of "Sunday Night Soul" at The 5 Spot.

He has collaborated with or opened for acts such as Zac Brown Band, Lyle Lovett, Randy Travis, Jonny Lang, Micah Dalton and Toby Mac, among others.

In 2006, Eskridge released his debut self-titled EP and began touring the U.S., playing every coffee shop and bar in town. To date, he has taken his music abroad to South Africa, Amsterdam, India and England.

His latest release, "Live at Good Wood Nashville," was released in 2013.

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