By Arvid Smith

"Raised Right at Home" by Jon Semmes

Alabama born and raised Jon Semmes has never played any music other than country. And that means the hard stuff. On his debut CD, "Raised Right at Home" Semmes ropes in classic 50s Nashville(the kind Graham Parsons and The Flying Burritos felt at home with), a few rock-a-billy licks and a dash of white gospel and ties it up in a tasty knot with nary an outlaw in sight. These are songs about pitching woo, life lessons learned and even good ol' family values. The whole outing would feel a bit pastiche if Jon Semmes weren't as fine a songwriter and performer as he is.

Semmes is a compelling singer, the lost son of George Jones, or perhaps separated at birth from Levon Helm or John Anderson, and he'd have you believe every word he sings. If sentiment be the enemy of true art, then lend an ear to "If I Cry Another Tear(I'll Probably Die Dry)" with its pleading barroom lyrics and equally weeping pedal steel purifying each verse. By contrast, "You and the Moon" strays into Bob Wills territory oozing Texas sass. Personal favorite here is "Love Shy" the CDs token rock-a-billy tune that harks back to the days before keeping it greasy became official culture on Music Row.

If you're on the lookout for the real thing and not mere tribute tunes, check out Jon Semmes.

"The finish line to fame and fortune is getter closer................"
Betty Stoetzer, Star-Banner

"John Semmes and the Florida Friends is the finest acoustic band currently performing
in Citrus County.........., the songs shine with close harmonies and crisp arrangements that
feature flute, guitar, fiddle, bass and percussion. "
- Jorge Sanchez, St Petersburg Times

" Popular singer will perform in Dunnellon..."
Citrus Chronicle

"Singer kicking up some country..."
St Petersburg Times

Jon Semmes and the Florida Friends give fans the live performance they asked for on the band's new CD.
St Petersburg Times