Jesse Graves

I first met Jesse Graves in the summer of 2013 while playing guitar outside in Philadelphia. He said a few words to me when he passed by and I nodded. It wasn’t until a few hours later that he knocked on my door and gave me the following cassette tapes: Muddy Waters, Son House, and Howlin’ Wolf. For the next two weeks he passed on Blues to me and Native American Spirituality. It was like boot camp. Everyday for seven to eight hours he would talk and teach. He had a lot on his mind. The picture painted by Susan Slyer of Elverson, PA is when I first met Jesse. The Tacoma guitar he is holding in the picture saved him and it was the first time he picked up a guitar in over 20 years. He was living in seclusion and had all but given up music. After the two weeks were up, he gave me his Native American books and I helped move his bags from his apartment to my car, and I drove him to the Philly bus station. He was headed to South Dakota. It was a real honor meeting him and he continues to be one of my best friends to this day. We constantly talk over the phone.

Jesse Graves, whose real name is Michael Floyd, is an American Blues guitar player and singer. He is known for playing Acoustic Delta Blues in the style the songs were originally written circa the 1920s and 1930s. He started playing music in the 1960s, immersing himself in the East Coast folk music scene. Johnny Shines told him, “Son, you got bluesman shoes, and that’s enough.” With Shine’s encouragement he sought out Reverend Gary Davis and Son House. In performance, he plays his own music as well as covering his favorite artists, Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson. Jesse has played with and opened for: Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Taj Mahal, Bonnie Raitt, Tom Waits, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee, Little Feat, and The J. Geils Band.

When I met Reverend Gary Davis, it was later in life. I played and he critiqued. Bonnie Raitt tacked me on to a lot of her shows as an opening act. I will say this about Muddy. Muddy Waters was a complete gentleman, no egotistical flamboyancy or anything like that. When I did my set with John Davis opening for Muddy and Pinetop Perkins, we did “Just Can’t Be Satisfied.” When he came on he didn’t do that song and it was one of his signature songs he differed to me. ” - Jesse Graves
Jesse and Muddy. Click Image For Interview

Jesse and Muddy. Click Image For Interview