MONTICELLO (WKOW) -- Have a conversation with Jimmy Voegeli, and you soon realize he loves his rural roots.
"You know, as a kid growing up on a farm, there is no other life," Voegeli says. "It's what you are and you can't get it out!"
Voegeli does maintenance on the farm equipment at the family's fifth generation dairy farm in rural Monticello. Growing up, the family sang and played music together which had a great influence on Jimmy.
"I played trumpet when I was in junior high and high school. And I actually, my high school band teacher flunked me my junior year…and I deserved it," Voegeli says. "It was the proverbial kick in your butt; you can do better."
He did end up sharpening his musical talents, and is part of a well-known blues band called, The Jimmys! So when he's not hunkered down at the farm fixing machinery, he's perched at the keyboard of a piano, playing his heart out for appreciative crowds. Voegeli recalls the moment he realized he was a musician, and it was after playing to a huge audience in Wausau that included family.
"One at a time my mom, you know a hug and 'Aw I'm so proud of you!, that was great', and my dad steps up to me and uh…and says, 'I was so proud!'"
His father passed away in 2003, three days after Jimmy recorded his first solo album. That year at World Dairy Expo, Jimmy's father, Howard, who is considered the "Godfather of Expo", was being honored and Jimmy was asked to play his song, "Papa's Waltz".
"To play this piece that was so near and dear to the person I respected the most in the world," Voegeli says. "And to honor him in that, you know, kind of his crowning achievement."