by Derek Operle
The Paducah Sun
February 23, 2022
Used with permission.
While Jon Cowherd has a background in horns and keys, the Paducah expat’s life doesn’t have anything to do with cars. He’s a jazz musician.
Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, and raised in western Kentucky by parents Ron and Janice Cowherd, Jon latched onto music early. He took up piano, as well as French horn, violin and singing.
“I had always had a passion for music, but I wasn’t really sure of what I wanted to do with it,” he told The Sun. “I was a big brass player. French horn became my main instrument in high school and that’s what took me to New Orleans.”
Loyola University offered him a scholarship to come play French horn in 1988, and he took it. He had personal ties to the university — a friend’s father taught French horn there — and a bit of personal curiosity: Ellis Marsalis, the father of legendary Jazz trumpeter Wynton, taught piano at the school.
“Growing up in Paducah, we were into other things like rock music and maybe marching band music, but not jazz,” the Paducah Tilghman High School graduate said. “New Orleans in itself was just life changing that way, just the exposure to music with all of these people really excelling in it at that age.”