Jeremiah Maxey is an accomplished musician with guitar skills to give expert players a run for their money. But Maxey is not what one might call a traditional guitarist.
Due to a blood type difference between his parents and his twin sister, Maxey was born with gangrene on his hands and arms. Doctors were forced to amputate his right arm and part of his left arm shortly after his birth, leaving him disabled.
At 10 years old, Maxey yearned to play the guitar after seeing his father teach his twin sister.
“My dad started giving my sister guitar lessons” says Maxey, “[He was] teaching her guitar, and I don’t know why but I got really jealous.”
Maxey’s father learned about a style of guitar tuning called “open tunings” and with the strum of a chord, Maxey found himself immersed in a new world of musical ability.
Now 15 years after he picked up his first guitar, Jeremiah Maxey has played hundreds of shows all over the Wasatch Front. Maxey says the key to his success was allowing his disability to become his ability.
Maxey left his audience in awe last year as he performed his blues-infused rock music on the Salt Lake Community College’s Jordan campus.
But Maxey and his one-hand band have been keeping plenty busy in 2013 with regular appearances on Park City TV, a performance at the Sundance Film Festival, recording an album and weekly gigs all around the Intermountain West.
“The best compliment,” says Maxey “is when I go play places and [the fans] have listened to my music online, and I get there, and I start playing, and they walk up to me and go, ‘We had no idea you had one arm.’ It’s perfect.”
In addition to performing with his band “The Right Hand Band” he also performs with a band called “Telluride Meltdown.”
Jeremiah Maxey is scheduled to perform at SLCC for Disability Awareness week on Sept. 18 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the HTC Plaza of the Jordan Campus.