Obviously Austin, Texas has many artists, some great, some good, and some not so good. Among the great ones there are a few who have put their mark on the music history. Willie Nelson is one of them, and so is Joe Ely, Jimmie Vaughan, John Cotton and a handful of others. Jon Dee Graham is also one of those, being instrumental in defining the term alt.country with The True Believers in the late 80’s.
John Dee Graham quit law school to play with his band The Skunks in the late 70’s as a guitarist and singer. He quit the band in 79, frustrated by the lack of success and started backing blues singer Lou Ann Barton. In 1984 he joined The True Believers, Alejandro Escovedo’s band, staying with them for some years before they disbanded.
After The True Believers, Jon Dee worked as a sideman in Los Angeles for different artists like John Doe, Patty Griffin, John Hiatt, James McMurtry, Michelle Shocked and many others. He also got recognition for his songs when Patti Smyth covered one of his songs in 1992. After some years he moved back to Austin, and has been playing there since, both as a solo act – acoustic or with his band, or with his music friends The Resentments.
Musically Jon Dee Graham is combining literary writing with a punk feeling, a style that is part of the loose description alt.country, or Americana. Whatever it’s called, Jon Dee Graham is one of the most intersting and exciting artists in Austin. Usually he plays at the Continental Club every Wednesday, and the pictures here are from one of these gigs. You can also hear him on one of his seven CDs, Full, Escape From Monster Island or Summerland to mention three of them.