Song by song, Jonny Meyers is catching up with the traditions left quietly behind in his native Forest Hills – the small hub of Queens, which provided the breeding grounds for legendary songwriters like Paul Simon, Burt Bacharach, and the founding members of The Ramones. Meyers’s catalogue to date is a careful blend of romance and consciousness that reflects the lyrical, topical, and raw emotional traces of his predecessors.
While coming up as a guitar player in New York, it was not until a nine-year stint in Austin, Texas that Jonny Meyers started to be recognized for his compositions. After joining The Stingers in 1998, Jonny quickly became the principal songwriter and bandleader and in just a few years they catapulted from Austin onto the international scene, becoming one of the top traditional ska groups known throughout the world. The Stingers have released three full length CDs and four EPs to date, and toured nationally and internationally, backing pioneering Jamaican singers such as Laurel Aitken and Doreen Shaffer.
Jonny’s stint in Austin ended and he returned home. Not long after he teamed up with Kevin Batchelor (trumpet, voice of The Skatalites), and crafted new ska tunes in Kevin's Bronx apartment. Once they found a band of veteran ska players, Kevin Batchelor’s Grand Concourse formed and released their self-titled LP in 2011. Alongside this project, Jonny also formed a solo project simply called Jonny Meyers & The Trio. In this group, Jonny turns to blues, country and soul sounds that are the core of all the reggae and ska songs he’s written for other projects. Jonny & the trio hit the studio and recorded Jonny’s first proper solo record “Somewhere You’ve Been.” The album was released in 2014. Since then, the band has subsequently added a horn section, changed the name to JMQ, and is working on a follow up record due for release in 2018.
By day, you can find Jonny teaching music to elementary school students in Jamaica, Queens, where he has helped form a program that aligns studies in music with the modern band aesthetic. By night, you can find Jonny hustling gigs as a solo performer, bandleader or sideman in various projects. All the time, you will find Jonny exploring New York in any capacity, searching for traces of inspiration for songs that reflect the legacy of his neighborhood heroes.