We couldn't find any photos of R.J. Dollars, so instead, here's a photo of a bunny with a pancake on its head.
Guy-and-a-guitar man R. J. Dollars goes successfully solo. See him at JJ's.
One day you wake up and decide, “That’s it, I’m gonna be in a band!” Depending on where you are in your own musical development, it might be necessary to learn to play an instrument first—but maybe not if your friends aren’t too discriminating. Either way, you find yourself some like-minded folk and you start rehearsing.
Fun fact: The word “rehearse” comes from the Middle English rehersen, which itself is derived from the Anglo-French rehercer which is re- plus herce (to harrow.) All this can be taken to mean that rehearsing is a harrowing experience at best.
Etymological humor aside, the upshot is that the distance from point A (I want to be in a band) to point B (I’m in a band people don’t hate hearing) is longer and more arduous than any dewy-eyed young would-be musician can fathom, which is why the attrition rate is ridiculously high and pawn shops are a good place to pick up cheap gear.
So, flashing forward past the years of struggle and the learning curve, you find that you’ve arrived, you’re in a band with some righteous folk and you’re making a name for yourself, then…the band goes on hiatus.
Let’s be clear: A band going on hiatus is not a terrible thing. It doesn’t mean the band is gone, only taking a break, and there are many good reasons (and some terrible ones) why this may happen. Pregnancy, job change, pregnancy, coming off a grueling touring/recording schedule, pregnancy, lead singer in jail for impersonating a nun; the list goes on, but the point is that the band isn’t gone, only taking a break.
However, you’ve just dedicated all of your adult life up to now getting to this point, so what to do? Fear not—the solo side project beckons and that’s how, 312 words in, we come to the point of this week’s piece: General Dollars.
Who is R.J. Dollars? That’s something of a mystery. Truth to tell, there is a dearth of personal information available beyond the man’s music. Even photographic evidence is scarce, which is why this article is accompanied by an artist’s interpretation based on the best available evidence.
Dollars garnered some stage time as a member of local group 8 Knives, well received, but currently on hiatus. Never one to sit idly by, R.J. grabbed his trusty axe and started crafting a solo act, and General Dollars is the result. He’s a man with a guitar and a killer sound, and that’s good enough for now.
He recently completed a recording session at Jack White’s Third Man Records in Nashville. The tune, “Always Ramblin’” can be heard by doing a quick search at Third Man Records’ website and will be pressed (along with an additional B-side track) as a 7-inch single later this summer. “Always Ramblin’” is the quintessential “guy and a guitar” tune, bluesy, folksy, but equally at home in the alt/indie section of the record shop.
In an era where digital technology is capable of making every man an orchestra, it is sweetly refreshing to hear something as minimalist as ringing guitar chords and a voice, particularly when that voice has some range and experience behind it. To put it bluntly, R.J. is a hit as a solo act, though he has the talent to enhance any ensemble group.
You have two opportunities to see for yourself, up close and personal at JJ’s Bohemia. General Dollars will be performing there on May 20 with Adam Faucett and the Tall Grass, and again on June 19 with Turbo Fruits.