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 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 jondeegraham.com. Graham has also been working with Freedy Johnston and Susan Cowsill on a side project called The Hobart Brothers & Lil' Sis Hobart. See thehobartbrothers.com.
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 sundayroadhouse.com. He performs at Lincoln's Zoo Bar on Saturday, Sept. 24, after 10 p.m. with Sons of 76. (See 8 Days.)
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 zoobar.com.
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.)