Jay Jesse Johnson is an American blues-rock guitarist with more than 40 years in the music industry. As of 2019, Johnson has released 6 solo albums and played on another eighteen albums as guitarist and guest musician.
Born in Indiana, Jay Jesse Johnson grew up in the 60’s, listening to the blues, country and rock & roll. He started playing guitar at the age of 10 and by the time he was 12, he was 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 (Alice Cooper), they formed the band Deadringer (Grudge/BMG records). It also included Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame member Dennis Dunaway from Alice Cooper as well as Blue Oyster Cult’s Joe Bouchard and vocalist, Charlie Huhn (Gary Moore, Foghat). The band released “Electrocution of the Heart (Grudge/BMG) in 1989.
In 2004 Johnson released his 1st solo album “Strange Imagination”, which set the stage for his back to the roots, blues/rock ascent. It was followed by “I’ve Got An Axe To Grind” released in 2007 that featured 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 in Classic Rock Magazine’s CD, Blues Breakers (The Hottest In New Blues Rock).
When executive producer Mike Varney heard Johnson in 2012, Johnson was signed to Shrapnel Records for the release of “Run With The Wolf,” which was featured on The Blues Magazine’s CD, “Cream Of Contemporary Blues.” While working with Shrapnel Records, Johnson 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 in The Blues Magazine’s CD, “In Safe Hands” (The Next Generation Of Blues Superstars). It included his 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, Neal Schon (Journey), Paul Gilbert 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, Cry of Love 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.