Best known for his stint as a member of the acclaimed '80s roots-rock band the True Believers, singer/guitarist Jon Dee Graham was also a longtime fixture of the renowned Austin, TX music scene. Raised on a ranch located near the Texas-Mexico border, he picked up the guitar at age 12, years later dropping out of law school at the University of Texas to join the Austin punk band the Skunks. The group went on to open for the likes of the Clash and the Ramones, but in 1979 Graham -- frustrated by his minimal input into their creative direction -- left the Skunks to back blues singer Lou Ann Barton, followed during the early '80s as leader of the new wave units Five Spot and the Lift. He joined the True Believers in 1984, and although the group quickly emerged as a major critical favorite they were dropped by EMI in the wake of their self-titled 1986 debut, disbanding soon after.
Although Graham's gifts as a composer blossomed during his stint in the True Believers, he chose not to pursue a solo career in the wake of the band's collapse, instead relocating from Austin to Los Angeles and collaborating with X frontman John Doe on his solo debut Meet John Doe. Subsequently working with everyone from Michelle Shocked to Patty Smyth, Graham earned a reputation as a much sought-after sideman and writer before leaving the West Coast in 1995 to tour Europe with blues-rocker Calvin Russell. Upon returning to Austin the next year, he was by now so disenchanted with the music industry that he accepted a construction job; singer Kelly Willis ultimately lured Graham back to performing, however, and in 1997 he also began work on his long-awaited solo debut Escape from Monster Island. Summerland followed in 1999. ~ Jason Ankeny