East Tennessee has talent. There's no doubt about that. And sometimes you can find budding stars on their way up to the big time.
Joey Pierce is not your average tween and he wasn't your average toddler either.
"The first time he heard Johnny Cash was a mistake, because I was trying to find the group The Outlaws and I found The Outlaws of Country, so we put it in. At that time, it was cassette tapes. We heard Johnny Cash," says Monica Pierce, Joey's mom. "My son said, 'Oh, mama, rewind.' We heard probably "Ring of Fire" 80 times and that's what started Joey on his path to music."
And soon after, Joey picked up his first guitar. "I was messing around with one at three or four and got serious about it at eight," says Joey.
That's when he started taking lessons.
"I'd hear a song on the radio and I would just go to my guitar teacher, Chris Metcalfe, and I've been with him ever since I was eight. And I'd just tell him the song I wanted to learn and he would teach it to me, even if he didn't know it," says Joey.
And we are not talking about typical kid's music. Joey plays the music of legendary musicians.
"Allman Brothers, Johnny Cash, Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan," says Joey. "I'm like Duane Allman. I write left-handed and I play right-handed."
Joey now plays by ear and performs on stage with big bands from East Tennessee at places like Mulligans and Quaker Steak and Lube.
"The blues you play from feeling. You don't got to know it in your head. You just learn the scales and you can play from feeling. You don't got to play from sheets or anything," says Joey.
Artists like Artimus Pyle from Lynyrd Skynyrd and Michael Allman of the Allman Brothers have taken time out of their busy lives to help Joey grow.
"He doesn't think anyone is bigger or smaller. He thinks they are all musicians," says Monica.
Joey has already been to CMT to audition for Nickelodeon.
"In four days, I had to learn Zac Brown Chicken Fried and Wagon Wheel by Darius Rucker and that was definitely fun," says Joey.
Now amps have taken over the living room at the Pierce home and Joey has seven guitars. His parents have supported his dreams every step of the way.
"We burn the candle at both ends so we do our day job to support the family and then the night time to support him cause its fun," says Monica.
"You are starting to see where he's developing, his stage presence has improved and he sees people smiling and it makes him smile and makes him play even more," says Kevin Pierce, Joey's dad.
Joey Pierce, a rocker even at age 12, who has big hopes for the future.
"I feel like having fans you need to surprise them with new stuff every time you see them," says Joey.
One of Your Stories. There's no place like this one.