RJ Comer is a classically trained singer and composer gone terribly wrong. Now he’s the banjo-wielding front man and primary songwriter of the roots rock show band, Dance Hall Pimps (Lakeshore Records), and is branching out with an acoustic Americana solo project. As a signed recording artist, singer, songwriter, and lyricist RJ’s music is fueled by a strong belief that there will always be an audience for good songs in the great Mid-Twentieth Century American musical genres as well as for contemporary songs inspired by that material.
RJ's musical range as a songwriter and performer reflects his upbringing on-stage, in church, around the campfire, and on the porch. With a rich and varied family history of musicians, it is fair to say that music runs in his blood. RJ’s father played ukulele, his Grandfather played banjo, and they loved American folk music. RJ’s Mother is a classically-trained singer and pianist, who sang with big bands and in the musical theater. By the age of ten RJ had taught himself to read music and when both his father and grandfather died, RJ taught himself to play ukulele, guitar and plectrum (4-string) banjo.
RJ ultimately went on to study voice and composition at Sacramento State University. He left music school, being drawn more to the Big Band era crooners and throaty blues singers, than those in the Opera or on Broadway. RJ then spent many years by working day jobs and playing acoustic blues. He once worked as a singing waiter in a country music-themed steak house. They loved his music, but they fired him for being terrible waiter. They also weren’t too happy with him when he and the fiddle player spontaneously broke into Pachelbel’s Canon in D with RJ playing the string quartet parts on guitar.
In 2009 RJ launched his first band, the Dance Hall Pimps, and they were quickly approached by two record labels. In 2012, the Dance Hall Pimps released their debut LP, Beast for Love, on Lakeshore Records. RJ’s fusion of classic Dixieland jazz, bluegrass, and rock & roll styles on plectrum banjo caught the attention of Deering Banjo Company who have included him among Deering’s sponsored artists. RJ and the Dance Hall Pimps are currently recording their follow-up to Beast for Love.
With the Dance Hall Pimps, RJ is a physical showman and singer, belting out their songs above the band’s drums, guitars, organ, and horn section. But RJ gets to explore his quieter side on his solo Porch Songs project—an acoustic mash-up of New Orleans jazz, country, soft ballads, Americana, swamp, blues, and acoustic rock. With the Porch Songs project, RJ still maintains the same playful dark humor he brings to the Dance Hall Pimps repertoire but with an acoustic folksier approach and shows his softer side on acoustic Americana ballads like “It Won’t Be Christmastime (‘Round Here)”. Preview the forthcoming Porch Songs LP and more ballads at www.rjcomer.com.