An interview with Jon Dee Graham

After being in Austin’s spotlight last year, when his son was diagnosed with a rare degenerative hip disease (as with Escovedo, the city’s music community rolled out in support), Graham has just released his fifth album, FULL (Freedom).

Where do things stand with your son? How has it affected your music? The last X-rays showed some new bone growth, but lately he has been having a lot of pain. Watching the grace and courage of a six-year-old dealing with his disease is humbling. I’ve learned a lot about acceptance and perseverance and just plain going on. Has it affected my music? Hell, yes. It has informed it with a sense of urgency, a sense of precariousness, and a sense of abiding faith.

Was it hard for you to get back to your work? [Charles] Bukowski had a great line about writing, how if you’re gonna write, you will write, in spite of the screaming kids or the garbage in the hall or the past-due notices piling up. These songs came very forcefully, in a big herd. Sometimes you have to lure the songs in, like leaving a bowl of milk on the back steps to get them to come in close enough to catch. But not these.