Friday, September 23, 2011

it's Jon Dee Graham Weekend....
 Jon Dee Graham performing "World So Full"....

Graham’s Wonderful World
If there is one artist I would get everyone to listen to if I could, it is Jon Dee Graham. The Austin-based musician is an extraordinary songwriter and guitarist whose music is as real as it gets.

His words come from the heart of a survivor and from an ability to stay optimistic even in the face of adversity. Reviewers praise Graham for his "raw intensity" and say "his songs always sound like truth." I've called his outlook "cynical optimism." He writes about life and loss with courage. His luminous performances brim with hope and love. In 2008, Graham's daily life as a working musician, husband and father were profiled in Mark Finkelpearl's insightful documentary, Swept Away
Graham is an award-winning 30-year-plus veteran of the Austin scene. His earlier work includes seminal Austin punk band The Skunks and co-founding The True Believers with Alejandro Escovedo. Graham can be found most Wednesdays laying down fiery guitar and soul-filled songs at Austin's Continental Club. 

Graham is a survivor whose take on the world is filled with wit, wisdom and sometimes flights of whimsy. In 2008 he suffered a near-fatal car crash driving home from Dallas to Austin. His first words to the State Trooper who found him were “It’s not as bad as it looks!” This became the title of his 2010 studio CD. He was back onstage, against doctor’s orders, almost a month to the day after the accident, performing his weekly, fiery Wednesday night show at Austin’s Continental Club. He treated the audience to his usual wickedly fierce guitar licks, cracked jokes about the emergency spleen surgery that followed his arrival at the ER (and a cigarette he tried to sneak in the bathroom) and showed off the giant zipper scar the accident and surgery left on his chest. He also suffered a broken back, racked up shoulder and other injuries.

Graham launched the JonDeeCo Co-Op this past summer, allowing fans the opportunity to support his creative work on a subscription basis, receiving exclusive deliveries of new songs, artwork and more. See Graham has also been working with Freedy Johnston and Susan Cowsill on a side project called The Hobart Brothers & Lil' Sis Hobart. See

Jon Dee Graham returns to Dean Dobmeier's and Gary Grobeck's Sunday Roadhouse at The Side Door Lounge, 35th Ave. & Leavenworth, on Sunday, Sept. 25, at 5 p.m. See

He performs at Lincoln's Zoo Bar on Saturday, Sept. 24, after 10 p.m. with Sons of 76. (See 8 Days below.) There's been talk between Josh Hoyer of Sons of 76 and Graham to have So76 back him up for some songs, so the Zoo show may be epic and truly one of a kind!
Jon Dee Graham performing "(I Am Not) Faithless"
The trailer for Mark Finkelpearl's 2008 documentary on Jon Dee Graham, Swept Away....
Jon Dee and I chatted for Rick Galusha's PS Blues radio show on 89.7 The River. The interview without music tracks is here 
Benefit for Larry Boehmer
As mentioned previously in this column, Zoo Bar founder Larry Boehmer is fighting stage four lung cancer diagnosed this summer. So far treatments seem to be helping, according to Boehmer, who now lives in Eureka Springs, Ark. The Zoo Bar hosts a benefit for Boehmer's ongoing expenses this Sunday, Sept. 25, 3-9 p.m. Bands include The Fabtones (3 p.m.), Sons of 76 (4 p.m.), Lil' Slim Blues Band (5 p.m.), Mezcal Brothers (6 p.m.) and Kris Lager Band (7 p.m.). See

Larry Boehmer with his good friend Charlie Musselwhite at the Birthday Bash Larry threw for himself in Eureka Springs, Ark., on Sunday, August. 14, 2011.

Hot Notes
Last week's column contained an error, International Blues Challenge winner the Lionel Young Band actually plays Gator O'Malley's this Thursday, Sept. 22, at 9 p.m.
Jimmy Thackery plugs in at The 21st Saloon on Thursday, Sept. 22, at 5:30 p.m. (See 8 Days.)

This PICK also appears in this week's issue of The Reader....Suffice to say Jon Dee Graham is one of my heroes...I hope you'll make it a point to catch one of these shows!
Sept. 24: Jon Dee Graham and Sons of 76
Zoo Bar, 136 N. 14th St., Lincoln
10 p.m., $8, 402-435-8754

Jon Dee Graham makes his Zoo Bar debut Saturday, Sept. 24. The Austin artist is a legend of the Texas music scene. He is a three-time inductee into the Austin Music Awards Hall of Fame, recognized for his earlier work with Alejandro Escovedo in The True Believers, and for accomplishments as a solo artist. Graham's remarkable solo work is equal parts realism and lyricism. His songs take on the big topics: love and loss, hope and courage, family and the grace and grit of day-to-day life. His music glows with luminous hope in the face of obstacles and he's a masterful guitarist. In 2006 he was named Musician of the Year in the Austin Music Awards. At the Zoo, Sons of 76 will follow Graham's solo set, and there might be a few surprises. Graham also performs Sunday, Sept. 25, 5 p.m., at the Sunday Roadhouse at The Side Door Lounge, 35th Ave. & Leavenworth. (See Hoodoo)
-B.J. Huchtemann

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