Songs telling personal stories and a performance that is stripped back and raw, providing a compelling listen.
JD Graham is a singer-songwriter with quite a story to tell, and his new album, ‘A Pound Of Rust‘, consists of twelve deeply personal and poignant performances recorded at the Skinny Elephant in East Nashville and produced by the highly skilled Neilson Hubbard (The Orphan Brigade, Amy Speace, Mary Gauthier and Kim Richey) and the acclaimed songwriter Ryan Culwell. Graham sings and plays acoustic guitar, whilst there are songs on which Hubbard contributes drums, Juan Solorzano electric and baritone guitars, bass, vibraphone and pedal steel, and Ryan Connors the Hammond organ. The overall feel is raw and stripped back.
Graham grew up in Yukon, Oklahoma. By the age of eleven he was hooked on valium and during his teenage years and early adulthood, deep into his addiction, he lived on the edge. His involvement with several death metal bands, playing guitar, morphed into a more southern rock sound with his band Sour Diesel Train Wreck, who released an album in 2012 that met with some success. By this time, he had relocated to Arizona, where in 2017 a catastrophic car accident led to him having to serve a five-year prison sentence. His long-burdened conscience began to speak, and by the time those confessions all had their say, he had written one hundred and sixty songs. His first-ever sober writings, Graham made history at the Arizona State Prison when he was allowed to record his first album, ‘Razor Wire Sunrise’. The title track was the first song he wrote in prison inspired by the view from his cell each morning and all the decisions that had got him there. By the time he walked out a free man five years later, he had left behind a deep impact on the community there in the form of a very successful music programme he started that is still being taught today.
“These songs chronicle my journey through addiction, prison, grief, loss, faith, self-doubt, depression and redemption. Close your eyes and listen to my story,” writes Graham on the sleeve notes. Titles such as ‘Letter From My Conscience‘, ‘Stories From The Grave‘ and ‘Quiet In My Cloud‘ underline just how much these compelling songs speak from his experiences, or as Neilson Hubbard says; “this music comes from a place so real you can’t help but be mesmerised by the stories.” Fellow producer Ryan Culwell adds; “JD Graham has clear eyes and is honest about what he sees in the world and in the mirror- these songs possess the unflinching truth from a man who has the skills to deliver them like a knockout blow in the final round.”
This is a powerful album that will take you to dark places, but there is also a great deal of light, and by the time you reach the end, you really feel as if you have had an uplifting experience.