Nominated for the prestigious 2016 Blues Blast Magazine award for best Live Blues Recording, the Jon Spear Band performs regularly in the mid-Atlantic area where it has entertained appreciative audiences at numerous outdoor festivals, clubs, and other popular venues since 2012. Known for their award-winning original songs, red-hot live shows, and unique arrangements of blues standards, the band’s first two CDs charted in the US, France, UK and Spain, including the annual top 100 Roots Music Report Contemporary Blues Chart for the past two consecutive years. The band's latest CD, Hot Sauce, has appeared on the top 50 blues charts in the US, France, UK and Australia. The band’s debut CD “Old Soul” was a 2016 WAMMIE nominee for best Blues/Traditional R&B Recording (Washington Area Music Association). Base in Central Virginia, the band's members are Jon Spear (guitar and vocals), Andy Burdetsky (bass), John Stubblefield (drums) and Dara James (lead vocals and guitar plus harmonica)
★ Blues Blast Magazine nominee for Best Live Blues Recording of 2016
★ 2016 WAMMIE nominee for best Blues/Traditional R&B Recording (Washington Area Music Association)
★ Opened for nationally touring acts including Debbie Davies, Delbert McClinton, Anson Funderburgh, the Iguanas, the Chris Duarte Group, and Memphis Gold
★ Released two CDs achieving high rankings on blues radio charts in the US, France, UK and Spain, including the annual top 100 Roots Music Report Contemporary Blues Chart for the past two consecutive years.
★ Extensive airplay on over 100 stations worldwide, including SiriusXM Bluesville Rack of Blues "Picks to Click" (May 2016)
★ Selected to compete at the 31st and 33rd International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN
★ Favorable reviews from numerous publications including Living Blues and Blues Blast Magazine
Award-winning singer-songwriter and guitarist Jon Spear doesn't admit how long he's been performing but here's a hint: Jon was in a band that opened for the Isley Brothers at the Capital Theatre in Port Chester NY when Twist and Shout was top-40 hit. Since then, Jon has performeded with numerous bands from New York on down through DC and Virginia, playing a wide range of styles including swing, rockabilly, classic rock and blues. His electric playing has been influenced by such guitar greats as Hollywood Fats and Debbie Davies
Dara James is an amazing young talent with outstanding vocal, guitar and harmonica skills far beyond his years. Dara's grandfather gave him his first harmonica when he was about 5 and he joined his first band with his father -- Upland Express -- at the age of 11, and stayed with them for 10 years playing regularly around central Virginia.
He started playing guitar in the band when he was 14. Since then Dara has pursued a number of solo, band and recording projects. Dara has also won several songwriting awards
Bassist Andy Burdetsky has been playing bass since his junior high school days back in the mid 70’s. Andy was born and raised in the D.C. area where he was influenced by such great musicians as the Nighthawks, Danny Gatton and Charlie Byrd. Andy has shared the stage and/or sat in with such musical greats as Koko Taylor, NRBQ, Nighthawks, Roy Buchanan, Nils Lofgren, Stephen Stills and has had the honor of being Big Bill and Mud Morganfield’s bass player on several occasions when they have played in town.
Drummer John Stubblefield started playing drums around the time the Beatles made their US debut. His dad owned radio stations and he grew up loving all styles of music. In college he played with The Charlottesville Blues Allstars (later called just The Allstars). During those years he opened often for the Nighthawks playing clubs in Virginia and DC.
In addition to the Jon Spear Band, John currently plays swing and blues with Bluzonia and original folk rock with the Eric Heinsohn Band. John has been building drums for 10 years and has drummers all over gigging and recording with his custom drums.
★ "a well played collection of rootsy rock originals …the recording features a clean stripped-down sound and deep, in-the-pocket grooves that result when a band develops into a tight-knit unit from extensive live gigs.” – Living Blues Magazine
★ "Hot Sauce gives further proof to the fact that The Jon Spear Band is one of the most talented bands playing the blues right now. They show an amazing versatility with their music, mixing blues, soul, and rock in equal measures. The two-headed vocal/guitar attack with Spear and James is highly effective and the rhythm section is most righteous. Add a highly unique songwriting approach that includes entertaining party songs, interesting story songs, and other thought-provoking fare, and you’ve got a disc that deserves to heard and heard again" –- Graham Clarke, Blues Bytes
★ "With the Jon Spear Band, you can always bet your last money that the music will be excellent, and the songs built either for the dance floor or to make you think." – DonandSherylsBluesBlog.
LIVE MUSIC IS BETTER
★ "This is the real deal...blues as it was meant to be played". – Bill Wilson “Reflections in Blue”
★ "Four superbly talented musicians plus stellar guests have produced an album that epitomizes how live Blues should be played." – Peter Merrett, PBS 106.7FM Melbourne
★ "This CD would make a welcome addition to any blues lovers collection" – Professor Johnny P's Juke Joint (AKA John Porter)
★ "Live Music Is Better is a rock solid set that gives fans and newcomers a nice summary of how good a band the Jon Spear Band really is, especially on stage." – Graham Clarke, Blues Bytes Magazine
★ "Virginia-based singer/guitarist Spear and his talented band released their debut, Old Soul, in 2015, an album which finished in the Top 25 of the Roots Music Report's Top Contemporary Blues Albums. Spear's been around since the early 60's, but recently connected with a phenomenal young talent, singer/guitarist Dara James, who is a blues star in the making......a gifted guitarist, singer, and songwriter whose style works perfectly with Spear's.... Live Music Is Better provides a great look at one of the most underrated bands currently practicing. -- Friday Blues Fix
★ "We had two favorites -- the fellows lay down a sweet Chicago-styled blues groove as Jon takes lead vocal and Dara blows some serious harp on “Shake Your Boogie!” And, the highlight of the set, for us, belonged to Dara James and his slow-burnin’ blues guitar lines on the classic “Have You Ever Loved A Woman.” -- Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society
© Alan Grossman
★ "[The Jon Spear Band's] debut release, “Old Soul”, is a stunning reminder to all and sundry that skill, practice and years of live performing enables you to shine like a true glittering star without reliance upon vacuous tinsel twinkling internet driven media videos. Across the ten numbers here, is an atmosphere of relaxed confidence, combined with second nature playing all wrapped up in invitingly assured arrangements whether they have forays into soul, blues, country, rock R&B, funk, swing, or even a little salsa, it is all delivered with enticing aplomb." -- Bluesinthenorthwest.com (July, 2015)
★ “Spear and company put into words and music what all of us know and have experienced but might not have the ability to express. Running as smoothly as a well-oiled machine, this band operates as a single unit...each member doing their part. The result us a work of absolute beauty. The guitar work and vocals on this piece are absolutely sublime...and the rhythm section is right on the money. Adding an assist from Ron Halloway on sax on "Old Soul" and Nate Brown on congas on "Mean Mean Woman" and "Can't Help Myself" is just the icing on the cake. . 'Nuff said...this is good stuff.” – Bill Wilson, “Reflections in Blue,”
★ "The Jon Spear Band is a talented quartet with more than enough experience and creativity to get the job done. Jon Spear is the leader and main songwriter for the band, and on this record he provides guitar and vocals. He was joined in the studio by Dara James (also on vocals and lead guitar), John Stubblefield on the skins, and Andy Burdetsky on bass. For a small group they have a big sound, and you will like what they have to offer on this collection of nine originals and one awesome cover tune. Besides their more obvious talents, they also give back to the art and are active participants in the Central Virginia Blues Society. This is a strong debut from the Jon Spear Band, and throughout all ten tracks they present top-shelf musicianship, mature songwriting, and a most importantly, a good time for the listener. " Blues Blast Magazine, June 2015
★ "[The Devil's Highway] is one of those kind of songs that lyrically and musically could fit nicely into several music genres. It's blues, it's rock and give it to Toby Keith and it's a number one country hit. Well written, well sung and well performed." – Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro. Blues Editor @
★ "Old Soul is a highly enjoyable set of blues and soul that features some impressive original tunes. The veteran Spear, the rock-solid rhythm section, and the gifted young James proves to be a winning combination on this release." – Graham Clarke. Blues Bytes Magazine
★ "Forever Home is a laid back country blues track with strong radio appeal. A light slide guitar riff behind the clear vocals of James makes this track an absolute pop standout. With it's jazzy attack and nice harp work, this track is the most well rounded track on the release." – Bman's Blues Report
★ "The Jon Spear Band bring excellent musicianship, strong lyrics, and a rising star in young Dara James. 'Old Soul' is a fine debut from some of Virginia’s finest!" – Sheryl and Don Crow donandsherylsbluesblog.
★ "This central Virginia band has a definite old soul when it comes to their heartfelt nod to blues and soul, running a gamut of delectable styles. Some very intelligent songwriting, excellent musicianship and lyrics that delve into deep recesses one second and speak plainly the next flavor this debut with vibrant life and listenability" – Mark E. Waterbury Music Morsels Reviews
★ "Not many groups can boast two virtuoso guitarists as The Jon Spear Band does and few can match the writing skill of [Jon] Spear and [Dara] James." -- Peter Merrett of PBS 106.7 FM, Melbourne Australia