With the recording of his first album, Moon Over Memphis, in 1989; Jeff began his on & off, love/hate relationship with his solo career. The album was recorded in a converted tool shop that adjoined a barn, on Greg Krutsinger's family farm just outside of Joplin. Miami, Oklahoma's Jacque Garoutte helmed the production and engineering chores. It came out on cassette and was released regionally at independent record stores (remember those?) in Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, and Austin, TX, where Jeff moved in that same year to better promote his music. After hitting the coffeehouse circuit in that town with some ferocity that bordered on burnout, and, with no backing band in sight, he moved back to Missouri in 1990, relocating in Springfield. Two different Jeff Graham Bands were formed during this Springfield period (1990-1994), the first consisting of Jim Somers (drums) and Chris Williams (bass). The second Jeff Graham Band had Greg Krutsinger (lead singer of Joplin's Missionaries & later of Georgia Overdrive), Jacque Garoutte (also of The Missionaries & later a member of Joplin's Websters), and Ryan Butler filling the drum, bass, and rhythm guitar duties. During this period, The Jeff Graham Band got to do its share of regional touring and opening for the occasional headliner (John Kilzer, The Subdudes, The Connells, and The Rembrandts, to name a few).
With some renewed confidence and some familiar band mates behind him, Jeff went back into the studio (Lou Whitney's Column One Studios in Springfield) to record Where It Goes, in the fall of 1990. Joplin's Steve Ritter (The Acrylics, A Picture Made & The Connells) and Jacque Garoutte played drums and bass, respectively. The ten-song collection, also released on cassette, was the first to garner regional press that touted him as the next roots rocker to be reckoned with. Jeff soon found out that touting has never paid the bills. Jeff continued to play his originals in different formats, solo, duo, and as 1/3 of a rootsy trio called The Borderlords (based in Springfield) that consisted of former Woodpecker/Relativity Hayride bass player Brian Keiser and guitarist Mark Curtright of Kansas City. He performed bass duties for The Missionaries in 1992 and combined the poppier elements of his sound with his Jeff Graham Band compatriot, Ryan Butler, to form His Girl Friday in '92 and '93.
Jeff moved to Nashville in 1994 after feeling that he had 'mined out,' his home area and thought that the big 'ol music town might have a few more opportunities awaiting him. Jeff spent 3 good years there, playing bass with one of Rod Picott's first bands, played bass and guitar on Dave Roberts' first release, and played guitar with The Dixie Devils, covering his expenses as an Opryland stagehand, construction grunt, and a tape duplicator. Once again, hitting the listening rooms of that town, most notably Jack's Guitar Bar (RIP), and now adding the occasional music publisher office to his performance stops. No bites, but he did record 3/4th's of an album there, 1999's Big Bright Day. After a visit from his father (whose health was not good) in 1997, Jeff decided to move back to his home area. He threw himself back into college and began working on finishing up his long-neglected bachelor's degree in teaching. During that fall of '97, he also finished up the bulk of Big Bright Day in Austin, TX, Kansas City, MO (with the help of the Rainmaker's Steve Phillips) and with Lou Whitney in Springfield.
Through fellow songwriter, Bob Collum, Jeff met his future wife Ginnie in September of '97 in Tulsa. He moved there in January of 1998, got married in April of that year, and has been a Tulsa resident ever since. Although Big Bright Day came out in '99, he did little touring to promote it, largely due to his college load. He played lead guitar for seminal Tulsa cowpunkers, Tex Montana's Fireball Four from 1999-2001, recording one album with them at Lou Whitney's Studio, A Woman's Place Is In The Home. Jeff promoted his fourth album, Dance In The Rain (with guest vocals by Tulsa's Rusti Love, guest-drumming by The Nashville Rebels' Bill Padgett, fine acoustic lead by former Borderlord compadre Mark Curtright, and guest-bass by Carl Jordan (Tex Montana's Fireball, Stephen Hero, & Bebe Buelle and the B-sides) with The Painkillers, a trio he describes as 'the best band of my life.' They soon became a band unto themselves and have released one EP in 2004.
Jeff is currently at work on solo album # 5, teaching middle school in Skiatook, OK, and minding the homefront with Ginnie and his two-year old son Louis.
The Minor - a site dedicated to artistic happenings in Oklahoma
Music You Might Like
"I bet you thought you'd be a little farther down the road by now..."
Jeff Graham Weathers the Blues
Band/Artist: Jeff Graham
Album: Dance In the Rain (Boys of Summer/Fearless Fosdock)
On Tulsa-based Jeff Graham's second full length solo CD, Dance In the Rain, guitar driven blues shakes hands with countryfied simplicity on 15 enjoyable tracks. But don't get out your "alt country" stamp just yet. The opening title track could be the background music to the credits of an 80's Brat Pack movie with its classic-sounding male/female vocals set to sassy saxophone and jamming guitar.
But most often the twang sets in and lets loose an inescapable and groovy blues and a few songs that shame the current country music business. Graham tends to get sentimental and personal inside his songs. The picture-painting tales such as the ones in "My Little Town" and "Is That Your Car" seem to be straight-forward accounts of the artist's experiences and adventures. Words don't get too fancy, and that works just fine for the rusticity and down home heartiness Graham's music holds.
This CD has the potential to appeal to a variety of musical tastes. Everyone from fans of Lyle Lovett, Clapton, Kentucky Headhunters, Jeff Buckley and several linked artists can find something about Jeff Graham's songs that is important and singable. The guitar work is practiced and solid. The songs are relatable and many of them are catchy. Graham's song "Boy From the Hills" sums Dance In the Rain up partially. "There was something about him that the people loved... From the rednecks and the rockers to the college kids..."
So, no matter who you are, this new Jeff Graham album feels good rain or shine.
++ The Minor Copyright Â© 2002 J. Garrison. All rights reserved.
Check out the artist's website:
1. 100 Miles
2. My Little Town
4. Dance in the Rain
5. Blue Days
6. Is That Your Car
7. Dark As Night
8. That Picture
9. Happy Times
10. St. Louis Skyline
11. What's It Take
13. Boy From the Hills
14. So Far Gone
15. Hallelujah Baby