Before Jesse Kinch became the first and only winner of the doomed ABC talent show Rising Star, he was Found by `Round cranking updated classic rock covers in his basement and on YouTube. Kinch is an accomplished guitar player with a natural rock voice, who was recognized on the very first episode as the standout in a mediocre cast. Kinch proved time and again that he was too good for this show and his weekly performances did justice to his inspirations, but creativity was lacking. As the show dragged along with insipid commentary from 'mentors' Ludacris and Ke$ha, the only truly constructive advice came from Brad Paisley; that classic rock covers will only take you so far. As for stepping out of the box, Jesse's well received version of David Cook's version of Chris Cornell's version of Billie Jean was hardly a risk.
Classic Rock is classic because it's great, not because it's stuck in time. The 1970s embodied every great rock act you've ever heard of… plus Steppenwolf. The sheer genius of the very current British group Band of Skulls is that they've internalized the vitality of that decade without sentimentality. Everyone who listens to Band of Skulls gets it immediately, because they get it.
Jesse Kinch probably gets it too, so it's a bit sad that televised karaoke has become the modern way to 'discover' talent. An entertainer plays what we want to hear, but an artist plays what we didn't yet know we wanted to hear. This guy has a potentially huge future if he can say no to everyone else's instincts.