Episode 12 with Jon Cleary 

Although he grew up in a small town just south of London, England, spend some time listening to Jon Cleary and you will swear he is the result of some sort of super-engineering experiment that sought to combine the absolute best of New Orleans/Funk/ Soul music into one performer- it’s in his DNA- from the way he plays to the subtle ways it permeates his native English accent. In addition to being a pianist and guitarist of impeccable taste and feel, he is also a gifted vocalist. 

Cleary, who has 8 solo records to date, recently won a Grammy last year for Go Go Juice, (a record I had the pleasure of being a part of). He was also a member of Bonnie Raitt’s band for 10 years - (she once referred to him the “9th Wonder of the World”. ) 

 He frequently plays at the world famous Maple Leaf Bar, a place that he has had a connection with since the early 80’s, as well as touring all over the world with his band. In this interview we discuss piano, guitar styles, his early years and passion finally making it to New Orleans, James Booker stories, Bonnie Raitt, what makes the New Orleans sound unique to other styles, and much much more. We do a fair bit of playing in this one too. 

This interview took place at Jon’s home/studio in New Orleans, LA on June 2nd, 2017.

9 comments

  • Jeffinpittsburgh

    Jeffinpittsburgh Pittsburgh Pa U.S.A.

    Awesome... Can just about visualize

    Awesome...
    Can just about visualize

  • steve lowery

    steve lowery birmingham,alabama

    wonderful,shane! john cleary is lineage to all the great piano players -a joy to see and hear! bravo!

    wonderful,shane! john cleary is lineage to all the great piano players -a joy to see and hear! bravo!

  • Arne

    Arne Norway

    Great podcast Shane!, I heard Jon the first time at pianonite at tipitinas on my maiden trip to nola in 91, and dug his stuff since , I allways make the effort to catch his gigs when possible. I'm making my 4th trip in 2,5 years come august to produce a record at the shed. His points at the end about not realy beeing abel to grasp whats going down in the present rings so true , Its hard to savour the gumbo when your in it to over your ears :) keep working on those 'peggios A (www.skage.com)

    Great podcast Shane!, I heard Jon the first time at pianonite at tipitinas on my maiden trip to nola in 91, and dug his stuff since , I allways make the effort to catch his gigs when possible. I'm making my 4th trip in 2,5 years come august to produce a record at the shed. His points at the end about not realy beeing abel to grasp whats going down in the present rings so true , Its hard to savour the gumbo when your in it to over your ears smile

    keep working on those 'peggios

    A (www.skage.com)

  • Tommy V,

    Tommy V, San Diego, CA

    Wonderful. Jon Cleary not only keeps New Orleans piano alive, he is a magnificent songwriter and sings like a real-deal motherf@cker!

    Wonderful. Jon Cleary not only keeps New Orleans piano alive, he is a magnificent songwriter and sings like a real-deal motherf@cker!

  • Tracy O'Brien Booth

    Tracy O'Brien Booth Detroit

    Jon's piano music is nasty.

    Jon's piano music is nasty.

  • wayne morton

    wayne morton Irish Hills Michigan

    Bad to the Bone right there! Great interview! Many Thank yous...

    Bad to the Bone right there! Great interview! Many Thank yous...

  • Carolyn

    Carolyn Oakland

    This interview is fantastic! Love the music, the topics, and the flow. Good people and a great taste of New Orleans. Jon is phanominal. I hope to here that last tune on the new record. It was amazing. Thank you.

    This interview is fantastic! Love the music, the topics, and the flow. Good people and a great taste of New Orleans. Jon is phanominal. I hope to here that last tune on the new record. It was amazing. Thank you.

  • Lol Sanford

    Lol Sanford London, England

    Great interview Shane, I'm a big fan of your guitar playing and also love Jon Cleary's work. I met him way back when he had a residency in my local pub in south London. Wow what treat to see him play every Thursday! Made my first trip to New Orleans last year and fell in love with the place and listening to this took me right back - Thank you.

    Great interview Shane, I'm a big fan of your guitar playing and also love Jon Cleary's work. I met him way back when he had a residency in my local pub in south London. Wow what treat to see him play every Thursday! Made my first trip to New Orleans last year and fell in love with the place and listening to this took me right back - Thank you.

  • Marie Nicholson

    Marie Nicholson Isle of Wight, UK

    Love Jon Cleary's work. Heard him in New Orleans and at Ronnie Scotts' Club in London, England. a few times. His performance blew my socks off each time.

    Love Jon Cleary's work. Heard him in New Orleans and at Ronnie Scotts' Club in London, England. a few times. His performance blew my socks off each time.

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