J.R.’s life as a touring bluesman came later than some. In his late 20’s, he was living in Brooklyn, bartending and teaching at a pre-school. He had a masters degree in printmaking, but the medium was quickly being usurped by digital alternatives. Still, he needed a creative outlet.
A few years before, J.R.’s college roommate had introduced him to a song that made him fall in love with the blues. It was Blind Lemon Jefferson, a 1920’s singer and guitarist who is sometimes credited as the “Father of the Texas Blues.”
“I had never heard that raw, gritty passion in anything else,” he said. “It just kind of leveled me.”
From then on, J.R. spent his in-between time — in between work, school, relationships and everything else — playing the blues.
“There were a lot of DIY venues that popped up in loft spaces or garages. They were perfect for the type of music I was playing,” he explained. “All you needed was a condenser microphone, a picnic table and a cooler of PBR.”Continue reading