D.C.’s own Jonny Grave is back with a brand new song called “Fever,” the debut from his forthcoming eponymous album.
“I spent a lot of time in last winter listening to old records, and making an earnest effort to delve into some of the Chicago-based blues players I foolishly ignored when I first got started,” says Grave about the inspiration behind “Fever.” “I got my hands on a bunch of Little Walter, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters and Jimmy Rogers.” A product of Grave’s gruff singing growl, his slide guitar technique, and classic Southern harmonica and organ, “Fever” just sounds like a rollicking time.
That’s strictly sonically speaking, of course. The video for “Fever,” shot by Smithsonian videographer Casey McAdams, shows Grave and his band playing the song in a deep basement beneath The Apollo building on H Street.
“If there was a video to be shot, I wanted it to be visceral, humanizing and 100 percent real. There’s no special effects, no fireworks, no ridiculous storyline or soundstage,” says Grave. “Schuyler, our dancer, was a last-minute addition. We saw her dancing in the crowd at a gig the day before, and asked if she would be interested in dancing in the video. She never called, texted, or emailed; she just showed up the next day, danced in front of our gear for three takes, and nailed it.”
A musical hustler, Grave has been a prolific showman, playing 189 gigs in 2017 by his count. Those hours put into live performances show in the video for “Fever.” Grave bounces around the mic and swings his guitar with the enthusiasm of an artist completely at ease on stage.
Grave’s seventh full-length record is composed of all original material written and arranged last year within a span of six months. Playing to his strengths, it was tracked mostly live in virtually one day at D.C. studio IVAKOTA. The release date for the record is still TBD, but Grave will celebrate the release of “Fever” at The Wharf’s Pearl Street Warehouse on Friday, Jan. 19, and will also play a show at Wonderland Ballroom on Jan. 31.