Jay Jesse Johnson is an American blues-rock guitarist with more than 40 years in the music industry and has recorded on 25 albums, including 6 solo albums. Performing at hundreds of shows across America and Europe, Johnson is a musical force in the Blues Rock world.
Born in rural Indiana, Jay Jesse Johnson grew up in the 60’s, listening to American Blues, Rock & Roll and bands of the British Invasion. He started playing guitar at the age of 10 and was soon performing at school dances and venues around the Midwest.
When he was 18, Johnson moved to the East coast and started gigging in the New York City/New England bar scene with the CT based band Cryer. Recognized for his powerful guitar work, he was soon playing on many studio recordings.
While collaborating with Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame drummer, Neal Smith from Alice Cooper, they formed the band Deadringer. It also included Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame member Dennis Dunaway (Alice Cooper) as well as Blue Oyster Cult’s Joe Bouchard and vocalist, Charlie Huhn (Gary Moore, Foghat). In 1989 the band released “Electrocution of the Heart” on Grudge/BMG records.
In 2004 Johnson set the stage for his back to the roots, blues/rock ascent with the release of his first solo album,”Strange Imagination.” It was followed by “I’ve Got An Axe To Grind” released in 2007 which featured good friend, Charlie Huhn from Deadringer, along with Bj Zampa (House Of Lords, Dokken) and Matt Zeiner (Dickey Betts). In 2009, his third solo album, “Play That Damn Guitar” was released on Grooveyard Records and was featured on Classic Rock Magazine’s CD, Blues Breakers, “The Hottest In New Blues Rock.”
When executive producer Mike Varney heard Johnson in 2012, he was signed to Shrapnel Records for the release of “Run With The Wolf,” which was featured on The Blues Magazine’s CD, “Cats Whiskers, Best of Contemporary Blues.” While working with Shrapnel Records, Johnson also recorded with the Blindside Blues Band on the album “Generator” and later joined them for a series of shows in Europe.
In Sept. 2015, Johnson was featured with Robert Cray, Canned Heat and Joe Bonamassa on the UK’s Blues Magazine CD release, “In Safe Hands” (The Next Generation Of Blues Superstars). It includes Johnson’s tribute to the great artist’s from the lone star state, “Ghosts In Texas”.
In 2016, Johnson was featured on “Shrapnel Records Presents The Best Of Modern Blues” along with guitar icons Leslie West, Pat Travers, Neal Schon (Journey), Eric Gales and others.
Jay Jesse Johnson has shared the stage with guitar greats, Johnny Winter, Robin Trower, Walter Trout, Rick Derringer, Pat Travers, as well as super groups, Aerosmith, Black Sabbath, Fabulous Thunderbirds, Jefferson Starship, and Foghat, to name a few. He currently tours with his band, the Jay Jesse Johnson Band, a musical powerhouse that features Reed Bogart-Bass, Jeff “Smokey” Donaldson-Drums and Lee Evans on Hammond B3.