Jon Spear Band
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The Jon Spear Band (JSB) has been impressing Charlottesville-area audiences ever since they first started out as a Central Virginia Blues Society jam band back in 2012. With the release of their first CD “Old Soul,” these talented musicians took their music to a whole new level earning critical acclaim, radio airplay and new fans from all around the U.S. and from as far away as Africa, Asia and Australia. In recent months their CD has appeared regularly on the U.S. Roots Music Report weekly “Top 50” Contemporary Blues Album Charts as well as the U.K. Independent Blues Broadcasters Association Top 50 list. In all, JSB’s music has been heard on over five dozen broadcast stations on every continent except Antarctica.

The band's latest release “Live Music Is Better” was recorded before a live audience at the Southern Café & Music Hall in Charlottesville, VA on November 27, 2015. On that night, the band not only reprised some of their award-winning original songs from their debut album “Old Soul,” but also covered several red-hot blues songs in the imaginative style that has made them a favorite among a growing list of blues lovers.

The release of their second recording caps off a year of increasing success for the band, which saw them receive extensive airplay, numerous favorable reviews, and opportunities to appear with several major artists, while “Old Soul” captured the #24 spot on the Roots Music Report's Top Contemporary Blues Albums for 2015.

The personnel on the new album includes special guests Haywood Giles on saxophone, and Adrian Duke on keyboard, along with the band’s core members: Dara James (vocals, guitar and harmonica), Andy Burdetsky (bass and backing vocals), John Stubblefield (drums) and Jon Spear (guitar and vocals). Adrian Duke, a semi-finalist at the 2016 International Blues Challenge, also lends his unique vocal talents to a rollicking New Orleans-style version of ‘I Love My Skin,’ one of the award-winning originals from the band’s first CD.

The title song of the album, ‘Live Music is Better,’ is the band’s homage to all those who make live music possible including club owners and concert venues, hardworking musicians, stage and sound crews, local blues and other music societies and, most important, the fans who come out and support their favorite performers. As the song says: “Pay a DJ if you will, it don’t give the same thrill – Live Music is Better!”

The band’s repertoire includes not just blues favorites but also original songs reflecting a wide range of genres including blues, funk, rock, R&B, swing, and even a little salsa.

Here’s what some of the critics have to say about JSB:

• "It's not easy to write lyrics that are of this quality... These songs take you places. You can relate to them." – Dave 'BluzNdaBlood' Harrison

• "Not many groups can boast two virtuoso guitarists as The Jon Spear Band does and few can match the writing skill of Jon Spear and Dara James." – Peter Merrett of PBS 106.7 FM, Melbourne Australia

• "Old Soul is a highly enjoyable set of blues and soul that features some impressive original tunes. The veteran Spear, the rock-solid rhythm section, and the gifted young James proves to be a winning combination on this release." – Graham Clarke, Blues Bytes Magazine.

• "This central Virginia band has a definite old soul when it comes to their heartfelt nod to blues and soul, running a gamut of delectable styles. Some very intelligent songwriting, excellent musicianship and lyrics that delve into deep recesses one second and speak plainly the next flavor this debut with vibrant life and listenability" – Mark E. Waterbury, Music Morsels Reviews.

• "[The Devil's Highway] is one of those kind of songs that lyrically and musically could fit nicely into several music genres. It's blues, it's rock and give it to Toby Keith and it's a number one country hit. Well written, well sung and well performed." – Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro. Blues Editor @

• "The Jon Spear Band bring excellent musicianship, strong lyrics, and a rising star in young Dara James. 'Old Soul' is a fine debut from some of Virginia’s finest!" – Sheryl and Don Crow donandsherylsbluesblog.

• “Spear and company put into words and music what all of us know and have experienced but might not have the ability to express. Running as smoothly as a well-oiled machine, this band operates as a single unit...each member doing their part. The result is a work of absolute beauty.” – Bill Wilson, “Reflections in Blue”
  • Members:
    Jon Spear (guitar and vocals); Dara James (guitar, vocals, harmonica); Andy Burdetsky (bass); John Stubblefield (drums)
  • Sounds Like:
    Eric Clapton, Sam Smith, Coco Montoya
  • Influences:
    Eric Clapton, Santana, Louis Jordan, Tommy Castro
  • AirPlay Direct Member Since:
  • Profile Last Updated:
    06/08/18 12:32:27
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