"Simply one of the best drummers I’ve ever seen." Americana Gazette
"One big bodily flow of stops and starts, while flawlessly keeping the rhythm. Truly fascinating to see." WoNo Magazine
"Even when she's only playing a soft shuffle with her brushes, she moves her body like she's trying to keep the lights on." Slate Magazine
"Kinetically-charged . . . intensely focused on every percussive stroke . . . JJ Jones' delightfully fastidious drumming [is] the secret ingredient." WhisperinandHollerin.com
JJ combines a classic-rock background with singer/songwriter, indie, and Americana music. Sensitive and musical, dynamic and fluid, she plays to the emotion of the vocals as much as the bass or rhythm guitar. She often seems to be dancing on the drum set. Her constant comment from fans is: "I love to watch you play." The Americana Gazette says: "JJ mesmerized [us] that night as she flew deftly across the spectrum of bass, snare and cymbals with impeccable skill. She’s simply one of the best drummers I’ve ever seen, one of the few who uses every percussive surface to maximum advantage."
JJ joined her first band at age 15 while attending a high school for the arts in Seattle. After graduating from college with a neuroscience degree and playing in classic rock, funk and alt-rock projects along the way, her long-standing love of acoustic music lead her to play with singer/songwriters and it was then that she started to be known for her signature style. JJ has accompanied numerous folk, Americana, and acoustic artists (see below), recorded studio sessions (see the Discography page), and acted as house drummer at both the National Women's Music Festival and the Red Rock Women's Festival, playing with six different acts at both events. She's been an instructor at the Rocky Mountain Song School for seven years functioning as the house drummer, and spent a year touring with the wonderful Canadian roots band Po' Girl, traveling extensively through the US, Canada, UK, and Netherlands.
In 2010, she joined folk-pop band Girlyman and found true love. Girlyman had an international career and legions of "Girlyfans" who often traveled hundreds of miles to see the band. After touring with folk icons Indigo Girls and Dar Williams, and being signed to Indigo Girl Amy Ray's record label, they regularly sold out 400-seat venues in NYC, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, and Washington DC, and played renowned folk festivals such as Falcon Ridge, Kerrville, Winnepeg, and the Rocky Mountain Folks Fest. When JJ joined the band, Girlyman told their fans: "JJ is an old friend and a fantastic drummer. When we finally got to play with her, something just clicked. Our sound got bigger and and closer to what we had all imagined it to be for years."
When Girlyman disbanded, JJ and two other members of the group, Nate Borofsky and Doris Muramatsu, started a kids' music project called Django Jones. Their debut album, D is for Django, was released in 2014 to critical acclaim, receiving rave reviews from New York Parenting Magazine, Celebrity Parenting Magazine, and the Midwest Book Review, among many others, as well as winning a Parents' Choice Gold Award, one of the most prestigious awards in children's music.
JJ recently graduated from Berklee College of Music's online performance program as a drum specialist. She says, "In over 30 years of playing drums, I had never taken lessons or studied with a teacher. It was a whole piece of the pie I'd been missing as a musician and it was time to step-up my dedication to the instrument. I loved Berklee's program. Not only did I acquire new skills and improve my timing ten-fold, I learned how to learn. I know now that I can tackle anything on the drums given the time and the commitment to do it."
In addition to touring, JJ gives private Skype lessons to students all over the country, as well as volunteering at ladies and girls rock camps across the US, teaching drums and coaching bands. She says, "Teaching, like performing, is something I feel I was born to do. And at a rock camp all of my musical, technical, performing, and writing skills are utilized. In truth, they are empowerment camps disguised as rock camps, and what could be more important than empowering someone? If a 13 year-old can know that it's ok to be exactly who she is, and a 40 year-old can experience a supportive community who helps her discover her hidden talents, what could be more rewarding than that?"
In four years of touring with Girlyman and Po'Girl, JJ played over 350 shows in the U.S. and Canada, and more than 60 shows in the U.K. and Europe, performing at music festivals, opera houses, theaters, performing arts centers, listening rooms, colleges, and house concerts. (Click here to see a list of performances.)
JJ (with Girlyman) SOLD OUT the following venues:
- City Winery (NYC)
- Barns at Wolf Trap (Washington D.C.)
- Old Town School of Folk Music (Chicago, IL)
- Freight and Salvage (Berkeley, CA)
- Iron Horse Music Hall (Northhampton, MA)
- Joe's Pub (NYC)
- Evanston SPACE (Evanston, IL)
- Club Passim (Cambridge, MA)
- Triple Door (Seattle, WA)
- The Ark (Ann Arbor, MI)
- Eddie's Attic (Atlanta, GA)
JJ has performed at the following festivals:
- Rocky Mountain Folks Fest
- Falcon Ridge Folk Festival
- Kerrville Folk Festival
- Kate Wolf Memorial Festival
- Strawberry Music Festival
- Live Oak Music Festival
- Festival For The Eno
- Montreal Jazz Festival (Canada)
- Vancouver Island MusicFest (Canada)
- Stan Rogers Folk Festival (Canada)
- Rhythm and Blues Fest (Netherlands)
- Wood Festival (U.K.)
JJ has played official showcases at the following:
- Folk Alliance International
- NACA (National Association of Campus Activities) National Convention
- APAP (Association of Performing Arts Presenters) Conference
- FAR-West (Folk Alliance Region West)
JJ has performed with the following artists:
- Po' Girl
- Coyote Grace
- Edie Carey
- Lucy Wainwright Roche
- Amy Speace
- Tom Wasinger (3-time Grammy winning producer)
- Beverly "Guitar" Watkins
- Driftwood Fire
- Tret Fure
- Beth Wood
- Kelly Brightwell
- Vance Gilbert
- Emily White
- Martine Locke
- AG (Adrianne Gonzales)
- Somethin' About Lulu
- Patrice Pike
- Melissa Ferrick
- Margaret Cho
- and many more
In addition to kits in the U.S., JJ keeps a drum set in the U.K. as well. She also has her own mics and active stage monitor (see the Gear page for details).
JJ plays Gretsch drums.