Jon Dee Graham

REVIEW: Jon Dee Graham “Only Dead For A Little While”


Jon Dee Graham – Only Dead For A Little While

Austin-based Jon Dee Graham became an institution in his native Texas as a member of the punk band The Skunks, then the True Believers and eventually for his solo work. He has been inducted in the Austin Music Hall of Fame three different times and the rest of the world eventually caught onto his brilliance. He’s played guitar for half of X (both John Doe and Exene Cervenka), John Hiatt, Lone Justice, Patty Griffin and James McMurtry along with a slew of other Americana and Roots greats, so it’s little surprise that Only Dead For A Little While, his latest solo effort, is just as impressive as ever. His first record in seven years finds Graham exactly where he left off, playing an inspired mix of rock, blues and Americana delivered with his trademark whiskey and gravel vocals.

The album opener, the gritty, hard charging “Where It All Went Wrong,” is a solid number but probably the least impressive of the batch. One of the early singles, “There’s a Ghost on the Train,” inspired by a real trip Dee took on the legendary City of New Orleans train when he was taking part in the Roots on The Rails project, sighting something he couldn’t easily explain. But two of the strongest tracks here are the endearing Country adjacent “Brought Me Here to You,” with backing vocals by Larisa Montanaro beautifully contrasting with Graham’s gruff delivery; and the jangly “Goin Back to Sweden,” one of Graham’s catchiest songs in decades. Theirs is also a stunningly cool cover of the Blues classic “Death Ain’t Got No Mercy.” He closes out the collection with “Lost in the Flood,” another soon to be classic from Graham that is destined be a show staple for the foreseeable future.

We may have had to wait close to a decade for Graham to follow up 2016’s Knoxville Skyline EP, but just three songs into Only Dead For A Little While, you have all the proof you need that the wait was worth it.

Enjoy our previous coverage here: Song Premiere: Jon Dee Graham “Lost in the Flood

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