RJ Comer

Originally from Chicago, RJ started out singing in church with his mom and around the campfire with his dad & grandpa, but ended up in a lot of bad places at wrong times. Now he lives in rural Tennessee, a storyteller with the backwaters of Americana and Blues running through his veins, writing songs that reflect the witty, gritty, tender and tough guy he is. From down tempo songs of jagged memories cutting deep to upbeat songs that swagger even when they swing, to been-around-the-block-a-few-times love songs, RJ’s music is both meaningful and entertaining.

RJ has toured as a solo artist from Canada to Florida including a five-week stint playing and recording in New Orleans and an official appearance at the Canadian Music Week Festival 2016. His powerful voice, captivating and emotional live performances, and infectious songs have garnered fans in biker bars, on Bourbon Street, and in coffee houses and concert halls. Talents as diverse as A.J. Croce, C.C. Adcock, and Grammy-winner Matt Hyde have produced tracks with RJ. He’s toured with Steve Forbert and toured the American Southwest playing dates with Sara Hickman and Guy Forsyth. After a show in Albuquerque, representatives from the New Mexico Americana Music Society described RJ as “refreshingly manly.”

As a recording artist, RJ’s garnered critical acclaim and chart success. His “Nightly Suicide” EP debuted on the AMA radio chart the week it was released in March 2016 and stayed on the chart for five months. Skope magazine described “Nightly Suicide” as an “absorbing and thought provoking album of six perfectly produced songs, which impress you to the marrow of your bones and leave you replaying them and reflecting . . . .” In 2015 RJ released a two-sided single “New Orleans Undercover,” which debuted at #2 on iTunes New Blues Releases Chart. “New Orleans Undercover” was recorded in New Orleans with New Orleans musicians featuring RJ’s close friend and 2012 National Banjo Hall of Fame inductee Lee Floyd. His debut solo EP “Hell Hole Swamp” (March 2015) included tracks produced in Lafayette, Louisiana by True Blood and Treme’ contributor C.C. Adcock and featuring the legendary Stanton Moore on drums and Artelius Mystic on sousaphone. RJ’s song “Smothered” from the “Hell Hole Swamp” EP is the title track and theme song to the feature film “Smothered” (written and directed by John Schneider).

RJ’s recent successes come after a long hiatus from music to work a “regular job”. He returned to music in 2009 and launched his first band the Dance Hall Pimps, a 7-piece blues rock show band with a horn section. They were quickly approached by two record labels and signed with Lakeshore Records. In 2012 the Dance Hall Pimps released their debut LP, Beast for Love. JiveWired described the LP as “A howling party record that’s infectious in all the right ways… a musically muscular package,” and RockWired praised it for its “Infectious hooks and mind blowing vocals.” RJ and the Dance Hall Pimps released their follow-up LP The Dead Don’t Walk (Growling Moon Records) on November 5, 2013.

RJ started doing solo shows in 2013 and quickly embraced his solo career, stepping away from the flamboyant party that was the Dance Hall Pimps and relaxing into a much more personal, intimate, and sometimes confessional vibe. His solo music ranges across the Americana landscape from swamp to rock, frequently streaked with Blues and dark humor, and always strongly rooted in Americana soil. At a live show or on a record, performing an original song or a cover, RJ insists on being truthful with his audience. He doesn’t shrink away from his experiences with addiction, violence, conscience, and redemption. He takes his audience into some dark places, but he always emerges into the light to hit the open road, have a laugh and show some love.

Releases

Nightly Suicide

March 25, 2016

“Nightly Suicide” is decidedly Americana Rock, yet is RJ’s most intimate and personal collection of songs dealing with addiction, failed relationships, conscience, redemption, and the open road. Multi-instrumentalist and producer Jef Scott (The Men) produced “Nightly Suicide” and collaborated closely with RJ to craft an Americana Rock sound that is both unflinching and introspective.

Hell Hole Swamp

Apr 07, 2015

The five original swamp songs on Hell Hole Swamp capture RJ’s love for swamp stories & legends — the shadow, the sin, the redemption, and the humor. Although a fusion of Louisiana and Carolina swamp influences, Hell Hole Swamp is contemporary Americana and is unlimited by boundaries. RJ plays plectrum banjo on every track and is accompanied by a wide variety of instruments, including acoustic and electric guitar, organ, fiddle, and horns on one track (“I Wasn’t Born an Angel”).

True Blood and Treme contributor C.C. Adcock produced two tracks “Smothered” and “I Wasn’t Born an Angel” in Lafayette, Louisiana. RJ’s long-time collaborator Rob Hill produced three other three tracks. Notable Louisiana artists participated in some of the tracks. The incomparable New Orleans drummer and percussionist Stanton Moore appears on these tracks along with Artelius Mystic (sousaphone) and Dave Rosser (organ). Like any southern American Swamp, Hell Hole Swamp can be charming and fun, but just as quickly can turn dark… “Beauty and danger occupy the same space in the shadowed grace of this foresaken place, called Hell Hole Swamp.”

New Orleans Undercover

Nov 12, 2015

New Orleans Undercover is the culmination of RJ’s Crescent City collaborations with the legendary Lee Floyd (2012 Inductee into the National Banjo Hall of Fame). From Bourbon Street to the Treme, RJ’s rich voice and Lee’s effortlessly masterful banjo solos delighted locals and tourists alike. So Lee brought his band of New Orleans musicians into the studio and they recorded two of their favorite songs—New Orleans style.