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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Local Music Spotlight: Jerry Lee Raines – singer-songwriter, performer and math teacher

By Julien A. Luebbers For The Spokesman-Review

Jerry Lee Raines is one of Spokane’s newest professional musicians, landing on the local scene in just the past couple of years. Trained as a math teacher but driven by a deep love for the arts, he is a local music educator, recording artist, band member and solo performer.

“I really try to get my foot into every inch of the water that I can. I’m a multi-instrumentalist, student and teacher,” Rains said. “Really, I’m just an avid musician who has a passion for art. I like to teach people what I can about it, learn what I can about it and then be able to do it as much as I can.”

Life as a musician in Spokane has been exactly that. Raines teaches at Post Falls Music Academy, takes time to work on his records and plays all over the Inland Northwest as a solo artist and as part of the 11-piece group Soul Proprietor.

With live shows especially, Raines keeps himself busy. Including private events, he played more than 20 shows last July. A live audience “makes the music something different entirely,” he said. “It’s almost like an energy transference.

“And I don’t want to get all metaphysical here, but it’s really something that you can’t touch but you can definitely feel. And I love seeing the smiles on the faces of the people who are enjoying the music.”

The recording and songwriting process offers a completely different appeal: reflection and time to learn about oneself.

“You get a really good look at yourself when you actually record music and listen to it and go through the process of making it sound how you know you want it to,” Raines said.

“But it’s the process of getting it there.”

Raines’ first EP, “When I Get Home,” is finished, and he sells hard copies of the record at his shows. The record is about his journey to this present moment, physically and personally.

It’s constructed mostly of bass, drums, guitar and keys, all instruments Raines is deeply familiar with, but what stands out is his vocals and the clear voice that he produces – crisp as he soars over the backdrop.

Off stage, Raines finds an intersection between his training as a math teacher and his passion for the arts in music education.

“It’s honestly really fulfilling to be able to go back to what was my passion for so long,” he said of teaching.

There was a point in his career when, busy playing for bars and nightclubs, he thought he might not get the chance to work as a teacher. But the opportunity arose, and he seized it.

“Now I can help lead future generations of musicians,” he added.

“I think my biggest dream is to have someone who I’ve taught an instrument grow up and do something like what I’m doing, maybe even better.”

And as much as he emphasizes the technical aspect of music to his students, he works equally as hard to instill a sense of meaning in what they’re doing.

“Anybody can play an instrument after a lot of practice and learning,” he said. “But the way to be truly great is you have to enjoy it.”

Raines has never forgotten what it’s like to be a student, though, inexperienced and new to an instrument. Right now, for example, he’s learning how to play the cello.

If anything was clear in talking to Raines, it was that he deeply enjoys what he does. Each of the many aspects of his musical life brings a different approach to art to his life and career, making him a musical jack-of-all-trades.

An engaging performer, talented songwriter and inspirational teacher, Raines brings life and energy to the local scene. For more information, visit his website jleeraines.com and follow him in Instagram @JerryLeeRaines.

Julien A. Luebbers can be reached at julien.luebbers@gmail.com.

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