Monday, January 25, 2010

Jon Dee Graham - It's Not As Bad As It Looks

Jon Dee Graham is a musician, guitarist and songwriter from Austin, Texas. He was born February 28, 1959. Graham was named the Austin Musician of the Year during theSouth by Southwest (SXSW) music conference in 2006. He was inducted into the Austin Music Hall of Fame as a solo artist in 2000, again in 2008 as a member of The Skunks, and again in 2009 as a member of the True Believers.

The Skunks' lineup featured Jesse Sublett on bass and vocals and Bill Blackmon on drums. Founded in 1978, the band invited Graham to be their new guitarist (replacing Eddie Munoz, who departed to join The Plimsouls) in 1979. Graham's guitar can be heard on the band's live CD, “Live: Earthquake Shake, released in 2000. [1]

The True Believers, which included Alejandro Escovedo and his brother, Javier Escovedo, are widely considered by critics to be seminal figures in the fusion of literary songwriting and punk rock, a sound often referred to as

Jon Dee Graham went on to play with John Doe, Exene Cervenka, James McMurtry, Eliza Gilkyson, Kelly Willis, John Hiatt, Michelle Shocked, Patty Griffin, Calvin Russell, andLone Justice.

His music has been featured in soundtracks such as Ladder 49 and Veronica Mars. In 1992, Patty Smyth covered Graham's song, "One Moment to Another" on her album, Patty Smyth.

To date, Graham has released six studio albums: Escape from Monster Island (1997, Freedom Records); Summerland (1999, New West Records); Hooray for the Moon (2002, New West Records); The Great Battle (2004, New West Records) and Full (2006, Freedom Records). His record, "The Great Battle," was produced by Charlie Sexton.

His sixth studio album, "It's Not As Bad As It Looks" was released October, 2009 on Freedom Records.

Graham's music generally explores the struggles with being a grown up and the battles that adults fight as they try and raise their children, maintain marriages and jobs, and grapple with the quick passage of time. Despite the heaviness of such themes, Graham's music is also infused with a strong sense of the joys of life and the need to remain optimistic.

Graham's second child, Willie, suffers from a chronic, rare childhood disease called Legg-Perthes. In 2005, the Austin music community banded together in an effort to raise money for Willie's treatment. The resulting benefit concert at Austin's Continental Club became a CD/DVD release called "Big Sweet Life: The Songs of Jon Dee Graham." Musicians like Alejandro Escovedo, Bob Schneider, David Garza, Ray Wylie Hubbard,Ian McLagan, and Steve Poltz all contributed by covering Graham's tunes. An additional benefit concert, held the same night at the Saxon Pub, featured performances by Roky Erickson and the Skunks. Graham commuted the short distance between clubs to participate in both shows.

Over the years, Graham has been backed by Jim Keltner, Rafael Gayol, Mark Andes, Michael Hardwick, and Andrew Duplantis, who went on to play in Son Volt with Jay Farrar.

In early 2006, production began on a feature-length documentary on Graham and his music. Entitled, Jon Dee Graham: Swept Away, it was released on DVD on May 20, 2008. The film was directed by a fan of Graham's, Mark Finkelpearl, who happens to be a documentary television professional with a background on the staffs of the Discovery Channel and National Geographic Television.

In August 2008, Graham underwent emergency surgery after being injured in a one-car accident.[2]

Almost every Wednesday night, fans can see Graham live at the Continental Club on Austin's South Congress Avenue where he traditionally plays a set at 10pm, just before James McMurtry goes on at midnight.

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Townes Van Zandt

Townes Van Zandt