About Jelly Roll

Kirk “Jelly Roll” Johnson’s distinctive, soulful style of harmonica has earned him critical acclaim, numerous awards, and a place among Nashville’s top session musicians.

A native of Lake Charles, Louisiana, Jelly Roll’s career has spanned 45 years. He began playing harmonica at age 19 in Cleveland, Tennessee. After touring with several rock, blues and country groups, he settled in Knoxville to work with the Tommy Cole Band. From 1979 to 1989, Jelly Roll played concerts and club dates all across America with Warner Brothers recording artist Con Hunley. The group opened for acts such as Alabama, The Oak Ridge Boys, Loretta Lynn and Emmylou Harris.

Since moving to Nashville in 1984, he has recorded with Trisha Yearwood, Kenny Rogers, Etta James, Guy Clark, Lee Ann Womack, Travis Tritt, Shania Twain, The Judds, Alan Jackson and many others. His unique sound has been heard on over 50 gold and platinum albums, including three Grammy winning albums by Randy Travis.

Jelly Roll has made numerous television appearances with various artists, including Faith Hill on “Late Show with David Letterman,” Alan Jackson and Jamie O’Neal on “Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” Trisha Yearwood and the Judds on the “Country Music Association Awards Show,” and Con Hunley on “Austin City Limits” and “Soundstage.”

In 1998, Jelly Roll won the Nashville Music Award for Best Wind Instrumentalist. After receiving nominations for 1998 and 2000, he won the best Specialty Instrument Award for 2003 and 2008 from the Academy of Country Music.

Jelly regularly performs at Nashville’s world-famous Bluebird Cafe with hit songwriters Fred Knobloch, Thom Schuyler, and Tony Arata.

Jelly Roll Johnson is an exclusive endorser of Hohner Harmonicas. In 2017, Hohner awarded Jelly the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Artist Recordings

This is a list of some of the artists I have recorded with. More detailed information is available at www.allmusic.com. You can search under Jelly Roll Johnson, Kirk Johnson, Kirk Jelly Roll Johnson, and S. Kirk Jelly Roll Johnson.


Pat Alger

Gary Allan

Bill Anderson

Lynn Anderson


Tony Arata

Suzy Bogguss


Paul Brewster

Luke Bryan

Laura Bell Bundy

Bob Carlisle

Kim Carnes

Peter Cetera

Kenny Chesney

Mark Chesnutt

Mark Collie

Guy Clark

Jessi Colter

Ronny Cox

Lacy J. Dalton

Billy Dean

Kevin Denney

Dean Dillon

Nokie Edwards

Michael English

Skip Ewing

George Fox

Jeff Foxworthy

Gaither Vocal Band

Gatlin Brothers

Crystal Gayle

Bob Gibson

Vince Gill

Vern Gosdin (Duet w/ Randy Travis)

Josh Gracin

Nanci Griffith

Regie Hamm

Jennifer Hanson

Wade Hayes

Eric Heatherly

Bertie Higgins

J. T. Hodges

Malcolm Holcombe

Julianne Hough

Rebecca Lynn Howard

Con Hunley

Sylvia Hutton

Randall Hylton

Alan Jackson

Etta James

Jamey Johnson

Michael Johnson

George Jones

The Judds

Christian Kane

Sammy Kershaw

Hal Ketchum

B. B. King (Duet w/ Randy Travis)

The Katinas

Jorma Kaukonen

Sean Keane

Fred Knobloch

Al Kooper

Alison Krauss

McGuffey Lane


Kathy Mattea

Tim McGraw

Reba McEntire

Pat McLaughlin

Jo Dee Messina

Victor Mecyssne

Buddy Mondlock

John Michael Montgomery

Craig Morgan

Nicole C. Mullen

Joe Nichols

Daniel O’Donnell

The O’Kanes

Jake Owen

Tom Paxton

Point Of Grace

John Prine

Suzi Ragsdale

Kenny Rogers

Jim Rooney

Tom Rush

Don Schlitz

Darrell Scott

Dan Seals

T. G. Sheppard


Charles Sizemore

Skid Row

Red Steagall

Doug Stone

Marty Stuart

Barry & Holly Tashian

Verlon Thompson

Pam Tillis

Randy Travis

Travis Tritt

Josh Turner

Shania Twain

Phil Vassar

Bobby Vinton

Susan Werner

Don Williams

Hank Williams, Jr.

Jack Williams

Trent Willmon

Mac Wiseman

Lee Ann Womack

Darryl Worley

Trisha Yearwood

Steve Young