The lean and tanned 24-year-old had just graduated college with a degree in engineering technology, but you would have to talk to him a long time before that turned up in the conversation.
What Jacob Griffin loves to talk about are his “swamp studz” and his music.
“The studz,” Griffin said, “are not people. They are the animals of the Manchac Swamp — catfish, deer, ducks, frogs, hogs and turtles. They have to be studs to survive in the swamp. Swamp Studz is a way for me to share my outdoors love and passion with the entire world.”
He gives his father, Barry Griffin, credit for instilling the love of the outdoors in him.
“He taught me to love the outdoors,” Griffin said. “My love of the swamp came on its own with friends.”
Young Griffin grew up on a “hill,” a patch of moderately elevated ground outside of Ponchatoula, with a vast swamp as his backyard. By age 8, he and his friends were camping on their own in the swamp.
Griffin makes videos centered around him and his friends chasing the swamp’s creatures. Followers can view them on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or Swampstudz.com.
Griffin’s dream is to see the Swamp Studz following grow, but he is quick to admit that right now his music is subsidizing his “outdoors stuff.”
He is an accomplished musician who plays rhythm guitar, and he is the vocalist for the J-Griff Band.“We play country music top to bottom,” he said, “from Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard to Jason Aldean and Eric Church.”
While the outdoors split of his personality came from his family, no one else in his family is musical. The music started at age 9 when a family friend, Derek Robertson, taught him the basics of guitar at Redneck’s Dew Drop Inn, a camp on the Tangipahoa River.
After that he began to self-teach.
“I sat in my room alone and played guitar,” Griffin said. “No one can really teach you how to play a guitar. You have to learn by yourself.
“I didn’t sing in public until I was 18. We were jamming out at a friend’s house in Ponchatoula. A girl in attendance was playing in a restaurant. She pulled me in with her, and that’s how it all started.”
Throughout the day on the water, Griffin unconsciously warbled a few lines from whatever tune was playing in his head. When his chocolate brown eyes would catch me looking at him while he sang, his face would break into a broad smile that, together with his dark, young-man’s beard and shoulder-length hair, gave him a positively rakish appearance.
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