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Album Review

It only takes a couple of songs on Jon Dee Graham's latest album, Full, to realize he's quite earnest about his music. Even on a song with a title like "Something Wonderful," he sounds deadly serious, delivering his gruff, Tom Waits-meets-alternative country-vocal behind stinging electric guitar and a pounding bass. Yes, he ensures us that something very wonderful is going to happen, and perhaps means it, but the music never sells this careless, joyful mood. Graham is joined by bassist Andrew DuPlantis, guitarist Michael Hardwick, and drummer John Chipman on a dozen self-penned songs. Even with four pieces, the arrangements provide a thick, heavy alternative country soundscape that serves Graham's resonant sandpaper vocals well. There are quiet acoustic moments, as with "O Dearest One," and quieter electric ones, as with the relaxed "Rosewood," and while these are but mere pauses to more dirty rockin', they should be commended for allowing the music to breath a bit. Graham's appeal is his authenticity, that — as his press bio states — he "bears scars," and how much a listener enjoys him will be dependent on how much he or she buys into his tortured artist persona. For Graham's old fans, however, Full's angst-filled vision will be warmly embraced as the real deal. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr., Rovi

Customer Reviews

Ragged beauty

Something Wonderful indeed. This is strong stuff. Recorded in three days — a sad fact of life and finances for musicians not on major labels — this is nevertheless a great CD by an underrated artist. The harder stuff rocks repetitive lyrics and bass that begs to be played loud, but the softer pieces also resonate. I'm in my early 40s and this is what I want to hear because it touches on so many aspects of my life — personal and professional. I just wish others did as well.


Jon Dee has become one of Austin's greatest. Go see him when you can. TAP

Full is right. Full of keepers.

More gems from an Austin legend. Buy this record.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Best known for his stint as a member of the acclaimed '80s roots-rock band the True Believers, singer/guitarist Jon Dee Graham was also a longtime fixture of the renowned Austin, TX music scene. Raised on a ranch located near the Texas-Mexico border, he picked up the guitar at age 12, years later dropping out of law school at the University of Texas to join the Austin punk band the Skunks. The group went on to open for the likes of the Clash and the Ramones, but in 1979 Graham -- frustrated by his...
Full Bio
Full, Jon Dee Graham
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Customer Ratings