Jon Dee Graham is the only musician to ever be inducted into the Austin Music Hall of Fame 3 separate times, no small feat in a town that has boasted the likes of Willie Nelson, Doug Sahm, Asleep at the Wheel and Spoon. Graham first came upon the scene as a member of The Skunks, one of America's first touring punk bands (opening for The Clash and The Ramones), and came to national prominence as a member of roots-rock pioneers The True Believers with Alejandro Escovedo. He has also been a trusted sideman for acts like John Doe (X), Michelle Shocked, Kelly Willis and Alejandro Escovedo. But it is his own songwriting that has earned him the reputation as a Texas Legend, prompting notable music writer Bill Bentley to opine "He's one of the best Texas songwriters ever, and Lord only knows why he isn't talked about in the same sentences as Willie Nelson and Townes Van Zandt." Graham didn't release his first solo record, "Escape from Monster Island", until 1997, at the age of 37. And since then he has released 8 critically-acclaimed records, had his songs covered by Patty Smythe, The Gourds and James McMurtry,and survived a life-threatening car crash. His latest release, "Garage Sale", finds him at his best, weaving seamlessly through various genres, from the 70s piano-pop of "Yes, Yes" to the Motorhead-esque "Where Were Yr Friends" and even touching Mexican Dub-step on "Radio Uxtmal". Graham is certainly a survivor and his music teems with experience, emotion and depth.
Mike June is a singer and songwriter from Austin, TX. Born and raised in New Jersey,in the shadows of New York City, June writes songs about the complexities of modern life with a frank, earnest style befitting a man raised ten miles from the George Washington Bridge. June's grandfather, Vernon, was a country singer in the 40s and 50s, making a name for himself locally by performing the songs of Hank Williams at the weekly Bear Mountain square-dance. Naturally, Mike grew up in a house filled with the sounds of Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson and Bruce Springsteen while the local oldies station taught him about the British Invasion, Motown and '50s do-wop. June carried a Kiss lunchbox in grade school and spent his allowance on AC/DC and Rush cassettes. He got his first electric guitar at 13 and began to write songs.
After spending several years singing with bar band Wide Load Joad, June formed Mike June & The Dirty Doves in 2002 and released his first album, CROOKED at the age of 27. Altcountrytab.com gave the record five stars and called it "40 minutes of music without a wasted beat" and said June "played with pure heart." The Newark Star Ledger praised the band's "uninhibited swagger" and said "the perfectly named Dirty Doves played with grace and grit," in it's shining 4-star review.
While the band's evolution was slowed by lineup changes, June and guitarist Jay Forsythe began writing and experimenting with new directions and in 2007 released "LOVESICK".Although it was a darker, moodier effort, the record was received warmly by both critics and fans. Blowup Radio called it "simply a great album," and the band drew comparisons to both Dylan and Springsteen. Later that year Mike June & The Dirty Doves garnered four Asbury Music Award nominations for "Lovesick",including a nod for "Fighting The War" for Song of the Year. "Lovesick" ended up on many critics end of the year "best of" lists, including ones in Japan and Belgium and was praised as one of the best locally released records of the decade.
In 2008,June disbanded the Dirty Doves and relocated to Austin, TX. While spending three years in "self-imposed exile", June continued to write prolifically and in 2010, with the encouragement of New Austin Music co-founder Larry Graves and former Dirty Doves Matty Aderhold and Ed Fritz, June formed his new band, The Wilson Street Refugees. June and the band, along with many guests (including 3-time Austin Music Hall of Fame inductee Jon Dee Graham) entered the studio and recorded EXILE ON WILSON STREET. Recorded almost entirely live over two days in April 2010, "Exile" is a life-affirming journey through the ups and downs of June's journey to Texas,the characters he met at the famed Wilson Street apartments and starting life over. Produced by June, Graves and Scott Everett, EXILE ON WILSON STREET was the first release for brand new label NEW AUSTIN MUSIC.
2012 has shown June to be in fine form. After releasing EXILE ON WILSON STREET, June has tirelessly toured the entire nation and recorded a brand new record, TALKIN' REVOLUTION BLUES. The new record finds June and his band (returning regulars Fritz, Aderhold and Byrne with guitarist Benjamin Todd and guest appreances by Larry Graves, Jon Dee Graham and Jess Klein) channeling the rock and roll muscle of the Rolling Stones, Dylan, Neil Young and The Clash with lyrics about the struggles of working class America in our new decade. The first single and video, "Hard Times" , will be released on September 10, 2012.
Check out a video: http://youtu.be/JTrHIm70JSE
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