JesseLee Jones is the proprietor of Robert’s Western World and the leader of its house band, Brazilbilly.
JesseLee was born and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Growing up in one of the world’s largest cities, he was influenced by an incredible and eclectic repertoire of musical styles. After he discovered traditional black gospel, hillbilly country and rockabilly music, he longed to pursue a music career in America.
JesseLee immigrated to the U.S. in 1984 and, after a long and rocky journey, he found himself in Peoria, Illinois. Robbed of his belongings on a Greyhound bus and unable to speak English, he was taken in by a family associated with his church. He worked hard babysitting, cooking, cleaning and doing other household work in exchange for room and board. He learned English watching Sesame Street with the family’s children. Playing gigs on his off time, he quickly became a local nightclub favorite, but his most memorable performance was when he lead a courtroom of new Americans singing “America the Beautiful” the day he became a U.S. citizen.
JesseLee moved to Nashville in the early ’90s and worked on the difficult task of making a name for himself in Music City. It was Robert Moore, founder of Robert’s Western World, who first recognized his potential and booked him to play there in the spring of 1995. At the time, Robert’s house band, BR-549, was gaining national attention. It was the members of BR-549 who first called JesseLee the “Brazilian Hillbilly.” He instantaneously became known as Brazilbilly.
In the years since Brazilbilly was born, the band has gained much popularity and recognition playing as the house band at Robert’s Western World. In addition to playing a regular Friday and Saturday night set, the band has played many other venues and events, including a performance for Vice President Al Gore as the results of the 2000 Presidential Election were announced. The band has toured Europe, hosted a live radio broadcast of The Midnight Jamboree from Ernest Tubb’s Texas Troubador Theater, played the Grand Ole Opry Plaza, opened for major country music acts, and played many special events, parties, and benefits across the U.S.
On August 5, 1999, JesseLee purchased Robert’s Western World from Robert Moore. He considers it the fulfillment of his life-long dream to be both a business owner and musical performer here in America.
JesseLee’s mission as a singer is to keep traditional country music alive. He describes his style as “traditional country music with a Latin flair” and his days of listening to Marty Robbins, Hank Williams, Elvis, Frank Sinatra and The Beatles definitely reflect in this style.
** JesseLee has just released a brand new album called BRINGIN’ IT BACK: IT IS WHAT IT WAS, as well as his autobiography, BRAZILBILLY: THE JESSELEE JONES STORY. Both are available NOW! Click on the images below to get your copy.