Jon Grimson’s music career began in high school in the Chicago area as a bass guitarist in assorted rock and jazz bands. He graduated with a degree in Graphic Arts & Photography from Rochester Institute of Technology’s School of Printing. But the pull of music took him to Musician’s Institute in Hollywood, CA to attend B.I.T. After several years of commercial printing day gigs and nights of club performances and near-record deals, he moved to Nashville in 1989.
His career in the record business started at Warner/Reprise – Nashville. As National Promotion Manager of the Progressive Music Department, he was responsible for all non-country formats’ radio promotion for artists including Dwight Yoakam, Iris DeMent, Bela Fleck & the Flecktones, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Uncle Tupelo and Take 6. Although based in Nashville, this role involved creating strong relationships in the Los Angeles and NY offices, the Jazz, Adult Contemporary and Urban divisions, as well as handling AAA format duties on behalf of the Los Angeles roster prior to their creation of a department.
Grimson founded CounterPoint Music Group, LLC, in October 1994, which distinguished itself as the first independent record promotion and marketing company specializing in “Americana” music. He was instrumental in starting the “AMERICANA” radio chart and format with Gavin Magazine in January 1995, and, in fact, coined and trade-marked the name. For the next seven years he remained prominent in developing the “Americana” brand and received numerous awards, including Gavin Americana Independent Promoter of the Year – 1998, 1997, 1996 and Gavin Americana MVP – 1997. He was instrumental in founding the Americana Music Association, promoting its creation of an on-line radio chart, spurring initial efforts to create the “Americana” Grammy category along with initiatives to develop the Americana Music Awards for television. During these years he worked with virtually every record label, major and independent, in Nashville, Los Angeles and New York.
In 1998, Grimson formed CounterPoint Productions, LLC to launch the syndicated radio program This Week in AMERICANA™, the first show of its kind. Produced and programmed by Grimson, the weekly two-hour show was broadcast internationally, and featured over 200 in-studio guest artists including Merle Haggard, June Carter Cash, Steve Earle, Emmylou Harris and many others.
In August 2001, Grimson partnered CounterPoint Music Group with Atlanta-based Crawford Communications to form Americana Entertainment, LLC and became its president. Grimson oversaw all operations of This Week in AMERICANA™, its music publishing division and video department. The company also produced radio specials with a portfolio including “O, Brother, Where Art Thou?,” “Earl Scruggs & Friends,” “Rosanne Cash,” and “The Chieftains,” as well as the 10-part 20-hour series, “Honest Country” that was hosted by Willie Nelson and featured archival audio from TWIA. “Honest Country” was a co-production with Dick Clark’s United Stations. Grimson produced the series and co-programmed the music. Americana Entertainment launched its in-house video production department in 2002 featuring work with artists like Glen Campbell, Tony Joe White, Ricky Skaggs, and Jessi Colter with Don Was.
Americana Entertainment Productions formally opened in April of 2004 as a video/DVD production operation that specialized in music-related live performance, interview and documentary projects. Video productions included work with artists such as Sara Evans, Dolly Parton, Josh Turner, Elvis Costello, Ralph Stanley, Los Lobos, and Stryper. Clients included Vanguard Records, Sugar Hill, RCA Records, Universal Records, City of Hope, Ryman Auditorium and Gibson USA.
In January 2006, Grimson was offered the opportunity to join Gibson Guitar Corporation as Director of Video Production/Marketing, and launch their in-house HD video production department. He produced and directed productions featuring artists like Duane Eddy, Earl Scruggs, Johnny Winter, BB King, Warren Haynes, Scotty Moore, and many others, as well as producing HD video with 5.1 audio production standards in numerous languages for worldwide marketing and broadcast. Additionally, as a marketing director, he was involved on a daily basis in marketing and branding strategies for the entire Gibson family of brands.
Since May 2009, he is owner/operator of Grimson Video and wears numerous hats as executive producer, director, DP and editor on video/TV broadcast productions specializing in interview, documentary and commercial projects. Video productions in the entertainment sector include work with artists such as T Bone Burnett, Bobby Bare Jr. & Sr., Christian Kane, Aaron Lewis, Marty Stuart, Taylor Swift, Thompson Square, Luther Dickinson, Tony Joe White and many more. Corporate clients for broadcast include local government, leading automotive, health care, education, financial and retail companies.
Leadership Music Class of 1999
Americana Music Association Founding member, Board of Directors 2000-2002
Past Member – AMA, NARAS, IBMA, Folk Alliance, Board of Directors NeA