Music is back at Aster Cafe!
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Kraig Jarret Johnson and Friends $20
Saturday, September 4, 2021 @ 9:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Kraig Jarret Johnson is an American songwriter, singer, guitarist and recording artist from Minneapolis who has performed and recorded with Run Westy Run, The Jayhawks, Golden Smog, Iffy, Joseph Arthur & The Lonely Astronauts, members of R.E.M., Ray Davies of The Kinks and his own band, Kraig Jarret Johnson & The Program.
As a teenager, he played guitar and sang with Run Westy Run, a Minneapolis band he formed with his brothers in the halcyon days of indie punk in the 1980s. The band’s early SST records — one produced by R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck, another by Husker Dü drummer Grant Hart — garnered immediate acclaim and the “Westies” quickly became known for their raucous, often ecstatic, live shows. Johnson teamed again with his brother Kirk in Iffy, a funky outfit that rode the first crest of electronically-inflected rock in the late 1990s. In 2004 Johnson released his first album under his own name.
Johnson was a founding member of what initially was a whimsical side project, Golden Smog, that eventually grew into a powerhouse supergroup that featured members of The Jayhawks, Soul Asylum, Wilco and Big Star. Golden Smog’s 3 superb albums from 1996-2006 easily transcend any of the “side project” labels that often get thrown at these kind of releases – Johnson’s contributions are a key component in all of them.
Johnson eventually joined The Jayhawks in the mid 1990s for two critically-acclaimed records: The Sound Of Lies and Smile, and began many tours of the world. Johnson rejoined The Jayhawks in 2014 and 2015 to support the reissues of those classic 1990s ‘hawks albums.
Johnson has co-written songs with a diverse group of artists, including Angela McCluskey, Gary Louris, Jeff Tweedy, Charlie Drayton and the late singer Chrissie Amphlett of the Divinyls. His work has appeared in several films, including Sunshine Cleaning, Clerks and The Music Never Stops.
His most recent effort is the Kraig Jarret Johnson & The Program. Produced by Ed Ackerson and David Poe, the album was released by the Minneapolis-based Susstones label in early 2018.
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