“Jonny Grave, the man and his music, defy categorization. Yes, he learned his chops studying blues greats like Son House, Blind Willie Johnson, and R.L. Burnside, but as I sat down to write this piece, I opened up the advance file of his new EP, IMPALA, and something unexpected and wondrous began pouring from the speakers. This was much more than just Mississippi Delta Blues; it was music that felt universal: Latin Salsa, French Manouche, American Funk, and yes, Mississippi Blues, too.”
His older music recordings champion the original Hill Country blues aesthetic, though over time Jonny has adopted all forms of blues stylings into his slide guitar driven albums and EPs. With IMPALA Jonny drops the period piece and takes a slightly psychedelic turn with his soulful guitar and organ driven band…He makes his guitar sing in a way I have never heard on a Jonny Grave recording. On "Una Medalla, Por Favor,” Jonny channels a little early Clapton, Jeff Beck and even Carlos Santana through his powerful slide driven jams. "Impala" itself has a very Southern Funk, Meters-esque feel to it. This EP moves you, its a 28-minute-long jam that will entice any music fan.”
“Jonny Grave” 2018
"...["By & By"] the album closer is about some of the characters Grave might have encountered during his 200 nights a year playing live. It's going from bluesman into E Street Band territory and that might be a good direction. He's already playing marathon shows, shining a light on his band and singing about the working class." --Brandon Wetherbee, Managing Editor, Brightest Young Things
"It's like blues, lo-fi, and slide guitar got together, and their love child, Jonny Grave, has been sent from above to steal your heart and serenade your very soul.” --Brian Nelson-Palmer, Host, WERA 96.7FM
"The howling, sweat-dripping-off-the strings, stomp of 'Fever' reveals the Mississipi-mud soaked heart of Jonny Grave at his purest. Grave isn’t so much playing the blues as he is channeling the dusty, backroad truths of one of America’s greatest legacies.” --Kevin Hill, Host/Creator, Chunky Glasses
"Grave's vocals and slide guitar shine... Listen if you're feeling melancholy, wild, or if you just want a reminder that blues is alive and well in the District." --Katie Bowles, Contributor, DC Music Download
“Safe Home” 2017
Recorded live at American University
"Mississippi Delta. Country Store. Back Porch. Juke Joint. Guitar picking and harmonica blowing like Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee. Toe tapping percussion like John Lee Hooker. A driving rhythm like a locomotive, and if you listen close your can hear that lonesome whistle call. Maybe you missed your stop and ended up in Piedmont? Songs from the American experience; travel, trains, hometown pride, love, drinking whiskey, redemption and filled with advice on how to live your life. Straight natural blues so good R. Crumb should’ve drawn the album cover."--Dr. Keith McDermott, Bronx Backyard Sundays/An Beal Bocht, the Bronx
“BROADCASTER BELIEVER REVELATOR REPEATER” 2016
Standout Track: “Wade”, the first single from Jonny Grave’s new album, Broadcaster/Believer/Revelator/Repeater, is a dark, murky blues tune that builds as Grave repeats, “I’m gonna wade/ I’m gonna wade/ I’m gonna wade my way through the muddy water on the way back to dry land.” A warm resonance radiates from the guitar that sounds both old and new. “It’s probably the least derivative song I’ve written to date,” Grave tells WCP in an email.
Musical Motivation: In 2015, Grave played 200 gigs around the country. It was a great but trying year, he admits, and “Wade” “is about continuing to walk forward, regardless of the circumstances.” The song, he says, “sets the tone for the whole album.” “It’s kind of a mantra… When you play the same songs over and over, they open little doors, like tiny revelations, about other tunes, and how they’re all connected.”
Blue Suede Pews: Grave recorded Broadcaster/Believer/Revelator/Repeater in a converted church in Tupelo, Miss. he discovered thanks to sound engineer Cedric Williams. Williams invited Grave to the church to record and, Grave writes, “we recorded from about noon to 2 p.m., ripped through eight songs, and even had time to mix some of the sounds down so I could listen to them on the ride to the next gig.” The venue and the old gear in it (like an ancient mixer that once belonged to Willie Nelson) are a big part of what makes this album unique.