RYTHYM & BLUES + MERCILESS GROOVES
Raised on a steady diet of the roots of Rock & Roll and Rhythm & Blues, A.J. Kelly's in-the-pocket, rock-solid style developed quickly as a young player. The son of a musician and the grandson of a stagehand, music flows through him like a sacred destiny and the beat is in his bones.
His early years were spent touring the Midwest with his father, James Merideth, himself a member of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. Following his own tune, A.J. moved to the San Francisco Bay area in the early nineties and immediately landed a gig with the Alameda All-Stars. With the All-Stars, he played alongside music greats Gregg Allman, Brad Gillis (Night Ranger), Viv Savage (Spinal Tap), and Danny Chauncey (.38 Special).
Kelly eventually moved across the Bay to North Beach, joining Johnny Nitro & The Doorslammers honing his craft and earning his chops at The Saloon, one of the oldest and most storied watering holes in San Francisco. "It was under his tutelage that I came into my own,” explains Kelly. "He was the master.” With The Doorslammers, Kelly was privileged to perform with Charlie Musselwhite, Rick Estrin, Tommy Castro, Luther Tucker, Rusty Zinn, Kenny Dale Johnson (Chris Isaak), Jimmy Pugh (Robert Cray Band), Francine Reed (Lyle Lovett), and Neil Finn (Crowded House).
After the release of Car Fixin' Blues with Johnny Nitro & The Doorslammers and You Done Did It with Michael Locke, Kelly moved to the great state of Texas. He spent a year playing his way through the blues clubs in Austin, then headed to South Florida to play with fellow ex-Doorslammer and guitarist, Michael Locke. Kelly spent several years touring with Michael, as well as with Albert Castiglia, with whom he recorded two albums, the critically acclaimed Keepin’ On and the award winning Livin’ The Dream.
Kelly is currently working with Rachelle Coba, and has toured and played extensively with Terry Hanck, Steve Laudicina, J.P. Soars, Joel Dasilva, and Frank Ward over the years.
He is the first call bassist for many out of town acts. His merciless grooves and intoxicating feel add the necessary spice to keep any band bubbling like a big pot of gumbo on 11.