Johnny Rawls

Johnny Rawls

 Purvis, Mississippi, USA

Johnny Rawls music is between blues, gospel and good hard soul. His style integrates modern Blues and Soul to produce a sound that is traditional yet uniquely his own. Even though music today is dominated by machine programming he is one of the few still performing 100% organic music.


Singer, songwriter, guitarist, arranger and producer, Johnny Rawls draws on the 1950s' and 60s' deep soul-blues tradition in his guitar playing, yet his lyrics and singing are 21st century.

Rawls got his early musical education from his blind guitarist grandfather, who played around the Hattiesburg, Mississippi area. Johnny began playing the clarinet and saxophone in third grade, and began playing guitar at age 12, learning as much as he could from players in blues bands around the area. By the time he was in his teens, his high school band instructor hired him to play in his band. As a teen, Rawls had the opportunity to back singers like Joe Tex and ZZ Hill.

Leaving Mississippi for a year at 17, he returned, determined to form his own blues/soul ensemble. They found work backing up touring musicians. By the mid-1970s, Rawls joined O.V. Wright's band as his band leader, working with Wright until his death in 1980. After Wright's death the band continued to perform his music for 13 years as the O.V. Wright Band, opening shows for B.B. King, Little Milton and Bobby Bland and toured with Little Johnny Taylor, Latimore, BB Coleman, Blues Boy Willie and others.

While working with guitarist L.C. Luckett, Rawls recorded a 45 rpm single for his label, Touch Records. In 1994 Rawls and Luckett recorded their first album, "Can't Sleep at Night", for the Rooster Blues label. In 1995 Rawls parted with Luckett to lead a new group and recorded with the London based JSP label. "Here We Go", was his debut for JSP Records recorded in 1996 and followed it up with "Louisiana Woman" a 1997 release. Rawls carries on the soul-blues tradition of O.V. Wright, Otis Redding and ZZ Hill in his singing style and guitar playing. His arrangement, production and lyrics are steeped in the 21st century techniques and subject matter.

In 1995 Johnny was Living Blues runner-up for New Soul/Blues Recording of the year. In 2002 Johnny appeared on the cover of Living Blues Magazine. He has been nominated four times for the Music Awards (formally the W.C. Handy Award). In 2006 The West Coast Blues Hall of Fame awarded him Soul/R&B Male Vocalist of the Year and in 2008 his "Heart & Soul" release, album of the Year. In 2009 received The Blues Foundation nomination for Soul Blues Male Artist of the Year. February 2010 Johnny was honored with a Mississippi Trail Marker in Hattiesburg, Mississippi and in June 2010 winner of Living Blues Award for "Red Cadillac" Best Soul Blues Album.

Johnny is constantly touring, nationally and internationally playing over 200 dates a year. He has performed at The Chicago Blues Festival, Pocono Blues Festival, Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, King Biscuit, Phoenix, Long Beach, Russian River, Hayward/Russell City, Portland Waterfront Blues Festivals and festivals in Canada, Sweden, Poland, Denmark, Norway, France, Japan and Australia.

Rawls is a true soul-blues renaissance man. Let the multi-talented and captivating Johnny Rawls entertain you! He will have you and your audience motivated and wanting more. Johnny's style and stage presence commands attention and allows him to instantly connect with audiences and audiences respond.


Here We Go (1996)
Louisiana Woman (1997)
My Turn To Win (1999)
Put Your Trust In Me (2001)
Lucky Man (2002)
Get Up And Go (2003)
Live In Montana (2004)
No Boundries (2005)
Heart & Soul (2006)
Red Cadillac (2008)
Ace Of Spades (2009)
Memphis Still Got Soul (2011)

Set List

For Clubs or Theater no more than two 75 minute sets, Festivals one 1 hr set or no longer than one 90 minute set.

Sets are a mixture of familiar tunes and originals:
Turn Back The Hands Of Time
Give It To Me
Real Love
I Don't Want No Woman
Feel So Good
All In The Game
Red Cadillac
Mississippi Barbeque
Falling For You
Ace Of Spades
He's a Good Man