Joanna Ramirez - Full bio

Ok!  Here’s my story as best as I can remember! 

I was born and raised in Dallas, Texas, with my music-loving two older sisters and older brother.  My father, Joe Ramirez, Jr. was a rhythm & blues guitarist and harmonica player, along with his two brothers, Charles and Chick, played in various combos during the 1960s.  Homebase for them in Dallas was a place called Jimmy’s Club, which was owned by my father’s family.  My mother, Dolores Ortiz Ramirez, also was raised in a family of musicians, and though she never desired to perform, I learned how to sing harmony to any song by listening to her sing along to music that was playing in the house or the car.  My maternal grandfather, Abundio Ortiz, Sr., was a singer and guitarist of traditional Mexican music, and in 2019, my sister discovered archived recordings he did in San Antonio in 1935, for the Bluebird and Victor labels.  Also, all three of my mother’s brothers, Abundio, Jr, Mauricio (Smiley) and Frank were active musicians from the 60s thru 90s. 

So it’s no surprise that I can’t remember a time when music was not the focus of my world.  Though my entry point to being a performer started in dance, I was obsessed with the records that my siblings and my parents brought into our home, and I was always singing.  With the blues revival of the 1980s, it was Stevie Ray Vaughan from Oak Cliff, Texas that led me to the music my father performed in the 60s with his brothers.  In 1992, I decided to go into the family business and joined my first blues band, “Soul Providers” with musicians from Sherman and Denison, Texas and recorded my first album with this group.  Then in 1998, I made the very auspicious move to Austin, Texas. 

With the help of the Austin Chronicle, it did not take me long to find a still thriving blues scene.  I began performing with my first band in my new adopted hometown in 1999 and in 2001, released my first solo album “Satisfy Me” which enjoyed significant accolades, not the least of which was from the beloved Margaret Moser, with a nod in her Austin Chronicle column, Girlie Action

My good fortune continued for the next twenty years to the present, working with the late, great guitarist Will Indian, performing as featured vocalist with Larry Lange and His Lonely Knights, forming Twilight Trio with Jeff Hayes and Grego Anderson, and as backup vocalist to John Gaar.  Other significant live and studio performances have been with bandleader Paul Klemperer, and songwriters/performers Steve Power, Jacqui Walker and Deann René. 

The journey to my second solo album “On My Way” has been a lifelong one.  It is not easy to bare your soul through music, but I believe it is the only way to truly impact others and possibly inspire, comfort, heal or just get people to dance!