Jon Dee Graham


























Jon Dee Graham
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Jon Dee Graham - Songwriter of large repute. Gruff voiced. Intense guitar player likely to include bone crushing rock and delicate ballads all in the same set, just 'cos that's the kind of guy he is. An unimpeachable musician. Team player. Much finesse. Even more heart. 1959 - Born in Quemado, Texas, on the Rio Grande River - population 320. 1970 - Started playing piano in church. Grew up listening to pirate Mexican radio stations playing border music and pop hits. Caught a station out of San Antonio that played hard rock and some early punk rock. 1973 - Joined his first group, a country band. Originally played bass but soon realized that guitar was where his heart was. 1977 - Moved to Austin to attend the University of Texas. Formed The Skunks, which evolved into Texas's premiere underground punk band. Quit school. Hit the road. Opened for the likes of The Ramones, The Clash and John Cale. 1980 - Left The Skunks in a huff. 1984 - Had begun writing lots of songs. Joined the nine-month old True Believers (which included Alejandro Escovedo), a punk-ish roots band that helped pave the way for what's now called alt-country. Much touring. A major label deal ensued. A record was made with Jim Dickinson producing. Major label deal fell through. Band broke up in 1987. Material posthumously released. 1987 - Moved to Los Angeles. Fell in with Ryan Hedgecock of Lone Justice, Michelle Shocked, John Doe and Exene Cervenka. Joined the John Doe band. Toured heavily. Continued writing original material. 1994 - Headed overseas and made his way as a traveling troubadour. Backed up Calvin Russell on dates throughout Europe. 1995 - Moved back to Austin. Hooked up with Kelly Willis and toured all over creation. Meanwhile, his songs were really piling up. 1996 - Decided it was time to make a Jon Dee Graham record. Enlisted super pal Mike Hardwick (Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Jerry Jeff Walker, Gene Clark). Mike became Jon Dee's sidekick - the sonic conscience and permanent 2nd guitar. 1997 - Escape From Monster Island, the first album under Jon Dee's own name, was released on Austin's Freedom Records. "A bare-knuckled, bone-chilling solo debut," said The Dallas Morning News. Rafael Gayol (formerly of The Bodeans) made his drumming debut with Jon Dee on the album, joining full time the following year. More roadwork. A Wednesday night residency began at Austin's Continental Club (and continues to this day). 1999 - Summerland was released, Jon Dee's first for New West Records. "A rousing 12-song collection of passionate rock & roll that looks a dangerous world square in the face yet still finds reasons to believe," said Amazon.com. Much live work, though family keeps Jon Dee fairly close to home. Mark Andes joins the band as bass guitar man. Mark has a storied past as member of Canned Heat, Spirit and Heart. 2000 - Jon Dee is named songwriter of the year at The Austin Music Awards at SXSW. 2001- July/August - Records hooray for the moon at Rumbo Recorders in Canoga Park, CA. The album is a blend of screaming loud and beautifully introspective songs, also featuring the Mexican perennial and crowd favorite "Volver." Producer is the mighty Don Smith (The Rolling Stones, Keith Richards, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, among many others). In addition to the usual suspects - Jon Dee, Mike Hardwick and Mark Andes (and due to the fact that Rafael was out with The Flatlanders) - the legendary Jim Keltner sits in on drums. He astonishes everyone, not only with his percussive abilities, but also with what a cool guy he is. Other special guests on the album include Mike Campbell (of The Heartbreakers), Davey Faragher (Camper Van Beethoven, Cracker, John Hiatt) and Austin Tejano favorite Little Joe.
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03/09/2010 - SXSW 2010: Jon Dee Graham - Read More
07/28/2008 - Jon Dee Graham injured in car accident - Read More
05/20/2008 - Getting swept away with Jon Dee Graham - Read More
05/16/2008 - Music DVD Review: Jon Dee Graham - Swept Away - Read More
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Average Rating : 4.6              Total Reviews: 14


Jon Dee Graham  06/15/2006            
George in Portland
If you haven't heard his music or seen him live, you are missing out in a big, BIG way. His lyrics, delivery and presence are matched only by his guitar playing prowess. Thank you Jon for many hours of listening pleasure.
Jon Dee Graham  08/20/2005            
miguelito
Jon Dee just isn't capable of putting out a weak CD. Another great, great recording by one of Austin's best.
Jon Dee Graham  08/20/2005            
miguelito
This one would get 5 Stars if but for "October" alone. Buy it for that and dig the rest. Not a bad song in the bunch.
Jon Dee Graham  08/20/2005            
miguelito
One of the best CD's ever recorded by anyone, anywhere, anytime. That said, "The Great Battle" deserves the buzz it generated -- Best CD by the Austin critics and in the Top 5 of the 50 Best CD's released in 2004 according to "No Depression" magazine. Certainly no argument there. A mature piece of work by an intellegent songwriter. This one will get under your skin and stay there.
Jon Dee Graham  08/20/2005            
miguelito
Could not disagree more with the previous reviewer. In fact, I'm not entirely sure we were listening to the same CD. A solid piece of work by one of the best. And as for Keltner's drumming, other drummers should be able to "phone it in" the way he does! I find the drumming outstanding. Oh well, perhaps the other reviewer would be well served to Q-Tip the wax out of his/her ears. This is a great CD by anyone's measure.
Jon Dee Graham  08/20/2005            
miguelito
Could not disagree more with the previous reviewer. In fact, I'm not entirely sure we were listening to the same CD. A solid piece of work by one of the best. And as for Keltner's drumming, other drummers should be able to "phone it it" the way he does! I find the drumming outstanding. Oh well, perhaps the other reviewer would be well served to Q-Tip the wax out of his/her ears. This is a great CD by anyone's measure.
Jon Dee Graham  08/19/2005            
Miguelito
Great EP by one of Austin's greatest musicians. Five tracks recorded with Andrew Duplantis at KUT-FM in Austin on Inauguration Day, 2005. The acoustic set contains songs from "The Great Battle", one of the best CD's by anyone, anywhere...ever! The last three tracks are new songs that appear here for the first time, including the closer,"Betrayed", a not so subtle song about his former label, New West Records. This is a great self-released CD on the Freedom label. Get it!
Jon Dee Graham  02/01/2005            
Eric
I you ever get a chance to see this guy, especially at his home club in Austin "the Continental Club" you absolutely must do it. And, if the closest you can come is to listen to one of his albums, well, then you absolutely must do that. Tom Waits/John Hiatt songwriting ability and lyrics; and plays a mean Texas guitar. Outstanding.
Jon Dee Graham  03/30/2004            
Wayne
4.5 stars is more like it
Jon Dee Graham  03/29/2004            
Deepa Athle
I saw Jon Dee on a SXSW Saturday at the Saxon Pub. On the Wednesday right after, I found myself looking up his schedule. He was on at the Continental Club that same night. Let's just say I went. Buy the album. Or tell them you died of sensory deprivation.
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