JJ Appleton in 2008
|Birth name||Jon Jason Appleton|
|Born||April 4, 1967|
|Instruments||Guitar, vocals, piano, bass guitar, synclavier|
|Gibson SG, 1964|
JJ Appleton, born Jon Jason Appleton, is an American musician and singer-songwriter based in New York City who has toured throughout the United States extensively in support of his own records and also with other bands including Jamie Cullum, Newton Faulkner, Pete Yorn, Edwin McCain, Sister Hazel, Joan Osborne, Keb Mo, Hootie and the Blowfish. Appleton has been described by the Washington Post as a songwriter with a “pop-rock sound but with considerably more edgy energy, adding figurative lightning to the stormy night.” Previously a member of the popular New York band The Grasshoppers, Appleton released his first solo album 500 Moments in 2003 which led to appearances on the NBC television show Last Call with Carson Daly, a feature on E!'s Wild On, and a national affiliation with Budweiser's True Music Live program and Gibson Guitars. Appleton released his album Uphill to Purgatory in the United States in 2005 which was then re-released in the United Kingdom in 2006 as Someone Else's Problem and included three songs from the 500 Moments EP. Based on the recognition he was receiving in England, Appleton decided to move to London in 2006 where he became a regularly featured performer at popular venues such as Ronnie Scott's, The Borderline, and The Regal Room. In the meantime, the single "Walk Into The Room" and it's accompanying video became a favorite on English radio and MTV Two. In 2015, Appleton released an acoustic blues album entitled "Dirty Memory" with harmonicist Jason Ricci.
Appleton was born in Norwich, Vermont, on April 4, 1967, the son of Georganna Towne and Jon H. Appleton, a composer and professor of electro-acoustic music at Dartmouth College. Professor Appleton was also one of the co-inventors of the Synclavier digital music synthesizer and recording system, which JJ would later use as a producer in New York City to record his own and other artists' music. In his capacity as a performer and a teacher, Jon Appleton was able to bring his family with him around the world where they would sometimes live for extended periods of time."Wherever the Appletons went, Jon had a musical agenda, which afforded JJ the rare opportunity to immerse himself in the indigenous music of such exotic places as Tonga, Sweden, Israel and Turkey." Of his Mother's support for his developing interest in music, JJ has said, "She definitely encouraged my musical pursuits. She would tape record me singing twenty minute songs about Viking battles and spaghetti when I was 6".
While attending Berklee College of Music in Boston, Appleton met and played in several bands including a stint with the power funk outfit Hamhorta and the band Electric Jellyfish. Appleton's primary instrument was guitar and as a developing guitarist, Appleton was a fan of Albert King, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Johnny Winter. During this time, he wrote and recorded a considerable amount of original material that reflected his respect for and developing mastery of the blues guitar and singing styles of these artists. Upon moving to New York City in the early 1990s, Appleton worked at producer Mike Thorne's Synclavier-based recording studio as an engineer and Synclavier programmer where he continued to develop his skills as a producer for such groups as Betty.
Work as songwriter, composer, music consultant and producer
Appleton has co-written, produced and performed on songs for a wide range of performers, including Jimmy Sommerville, China Crisis, Stephen Schwartz, Farrad, Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas, Luan Parle, Ke$ha, Darius Rucker, Ben Adams/A1, Pebe Sebert, Marc Copely, Ashford & Simpson, Stephen Lironi, Erin Bowman, and David Wolfert.
He has composed and performed music for numerous television programs and films, including Jungle Junction, Ten Days That Unexpectedly Changed America, PBS’s P.O.V., The Wire, The Sopranos, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Real World Cancun, Real World Washington DC, The Regis and Kathie Lee Show, and Lizzie McGuire. He may be best known to Millennials for singing the Pokemon: Advanced Generation series’ theme song.
As a music consultant, Appleton has been featured at music industry meetups, teaching advertising, TV, and film composition.
Appleton’s career as a jingle writer has spanned over 15 years, and his compositions can be heard in television commercials for Diet Coke, Burger King, McDonald's, Time Warner Cable, BMW, Singulair, Levitra, IBM, Clairol, Maybelline Cosmetics, Budweiser, 7-up, American Express, Procter and Gamble, and Campbell's Soup.
Collaboration with Jason Ricci
In 2014/2015, Appleton teamed up with Grammy Award-winning harmonica player and singer Jason Ricci to record an acoustic Blues album entitled “Dirty Memory,” which Appleton also produced. Hailed as “keeping the tradition of Piedmont blues alive” and “a killer, wild man of a set that almost sounds like early Holy Modal Rounders played straight,” the album spent 10 weeks on the Roots Music Report’s Top 50 Acoustic Blues Albums chart. Six of the tracks from “Dirty Memory” dominated the Top 10 Acoustic Blues Singles chart in the autumn of 2015, and in November, 2015 “Dirty Memory” was given the 2015 Jimi Award for “best new artist debut” by Blues 411.
Tours and notable appearances
Appleton has toured the United States and UK extensively and has worked as a session musician/band leader with members of Gov’t Mule, Tedeschi Trucks, Black Crowes, Lenny Kravitz, The Spin Doctors, and John Scofield bands.
In November, 2015, Appleton was chosen to be one of two guitarists (along with Chris McQueen of Snarky Puppy) in the New York Theatre Workshop’s production of Lazarus, starring Michael C. Hall and Cristin Milioti and co-written by David Bowie and Enda Walsh. The play features new and revamped songs by Bowie, and is based on Walter Tevis’ novel The Man Who Fell to Earth.
Notable live and television appearances include:
- Tribute Concert Celebrating Bob Dylan’s Birthday, featuring Chris Barron, Buddy Cage, and Chris Harford. B.B. King’s Blues Club. New York, May 26, 2003
- Last Call with Carson Daly, 2006
- BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, featuring Donny Osmond, October 6, 2014
- Apollo Theater Spring Gala, featuring Nile Rodgers, Roseanne Cash, Ne-Yo, and Luke James. Apollo Theater. New York, June 8, 2015
- The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, with Michael C. Hall and the cast of the play Lazarus, December 17, 2015 
- 500 Moments (2003)
- Uphill To Purgatory (2005)
- Someone Else's Problem (2006)
- Black And White Matinee (2008)
- Dirty Memory (2015)
Current band lineup
- Brian Delaney - drums
- Tim Lefebvre - bass
- Matt Anthony - guitars,
- Thad DeBrock - guitars and keyboards
- Bob Knight - drums
- Jay Cox - bass
- Dan Minsteris - piano
- Josh Dion - piano
Appleton is one of the founding members of the popular New York based band The Grasshoppers along with Mario Joachim and David Hamburger. The Grasshoppers, who counted among their fans Paul McCartney, Jeff Buckley and the conductor Seiji Ozawa, have been described in reviews as "One of the most influential and melodic rock / pop bands on the New York City Scene in the mid 90's."
- "Coffee Artists Interview with JJ Appleton". Retrieved 2008-05-12.
- "URB Radio 1449 Interview with JJ Appleton".
- "JJ Appleton on Composing for Film, TV and Advertising - Hit Songs Deconstructed". Hit Songs Deconstructed. Retrieved 2015-11-22.
- "JJ Appleton and Jason Ricci Dirty Memory - Making A Scene!". Making A Scene!. Retrieved 2015-11-22.
- "09/21/15 - Midwest Record - Entertainment Reviews, News, and Views". midwestrecord.com. Retrieved 2015-11-22.
- "Roots Music Report: Top 50 Acoustic Blues Album Chart". Roots Music Report. Retrieved 2015-11-22.
- "2015 Blues411 jimi awards/". blues411.com. Retrieved 2015-11-22.
- Soloski, Alexis (2015-11-10). "A Visit to the Strange, Secretive World of David Bowie's 'Lazarus'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2015-11-22.
- "Mike Greenhaus Concert History: What a Long Strange, Expensive Trip It's Been: 1994-2004". Retrieved 2015-11-22.
- "The Highway Girl". thehighwaygirl.libsyn.com. Retrieved 2015-11-22.
- Donny Osmond, Moon River, retrieved 2015-11-22
- "Apollo Theater Celebrates Its Rich Legacy With 10th Annual Spring Gala". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2015-11-22.
- "Late Show With Stephen Colbert". TVGuide.com. Retrieved 2015-12-18.
- "CDBaby Review of The Grasshoppers".