J Howard Duff

Musician / Teacher / Nice Jacket Recording Artist

Nice Jacket Records
& JD Publishing

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NICE JACKET RECORDS is an Indie media label owned, operated & distributed by JD Enterprises, SC, USA. Its releases feature a varied array of musical styles including: Rock, Blues, Christian, Punk, and Classical. It was established in 2011..

JD PUBLISHING is the music publishing arm of Nice Jacket Records. It is a BMI affiliated company and was established in 2015.

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Time Pieces

The songs in this project are amongst those that inspired me in times past, and still inspire me now! If you were there (1962-1970) I hope they strike a chord. If you were not, I hope they open a chapter in musical history for you.

It was a time when any kid could dream that with a guitar, and knowing how to play three or four chords, they too could be a star. I know, I was one of those kids.

For more notes and a track listing, click here!

Available on iTunes, Apple Music, CD Baby, Spotify, Amazon etc.


The BLues & back

 My newest release was inspired by two things; a re-connection with some of my old band-mates, and the realization that I wanted to leave a documented musical legacy for long time listeners and especially for my three kids that would showcase the music that is so much a part of me. “THE BLUES & BACK” is a combination of both of those entities. Many of the tracks are songs that were performed by the various bands I have been associated with (hence the “Back” in the title), and the balance are songs that have been in my head for years and have always wanted to do.

“THE BLUES & BACK” is a natural (albeit secular) progression from my last release: “The Cataclysm Catechism” where my blues and rock roots were explored in the Christian genre through mostly original material. This new release brings the legendary blues songs of Muddy Waters, Elmore James, Howlin’ Wolf, Otis Rush, Bessie Smith, Ray Charles & B.B. King together with the soul sounds of Otis Redding & The Temptations, blues/rock giants Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, and The Animals, plus some original material.

I hope you like listening to this as much as I enjoyed making it!

Click to buy on the iTunes Music Store

Click to buy on the iTunes Music Store

Cataclysm catechism

This CD is my 2nd collection of Christian music. It has a very different feel to its predecessor, “My God Is… Awesome (He’s Everything)”. On this release, I felt the need to return more to the styles of my musical roots that feature a predominant electric guitar based in rock n’ roll, blues, and blues based rock. I wanted to give it a harder edge than “My God Is…”, because I felt the times and its subsequent message warranted it. I was very gratified that one of the tracks (“Amen”) continues to receive national airplay on Christian radio stations. Musically, I am so humbled when I get correspondence that tells me that my playing on a certain song reminds that listener of Carlos Santana, Steve Cropper, Keith Richards, or Paul Kossoff. When I hear that, I know that I have touched an emotion in someone, and emotion & passion is what I strive for in every performance.

In an interview I did regarding this CD, I was asked if I was happy the way the finished project turned out. In one of my more lucid moments, I responded: “If I can cause ONE person to address the “elephant in the room” issue, by which I mean that “God issue” that EVERYBODY has to face now or later, then I am happy. I myself can’t close the deal, only Jesus can do that, but I can try my best to drive them to the dealership where He makes the sale”.


My God is… Awesome

This was my first “major” release in 2014. It was an eclectic mix of American Christian music styles including blues, rock, gospel, southern gospel, bluegrass, old school soul and contemporary Christian. After not being in the studio for so long, and being my first foray into a totally Christian music format, I will say that it was definitely a learning experience, both in the music itself, and the inner workings of the Christian music industry.

I got to connect with many listeners, and the variation of musical themes cut across both cultural boundaries and across different tastes in music. Some of the cuts, notably “I’m Drinking From My Saucer”, “Sing Selah” and“Thank You Lord (Band Version)”, are still being played on both internet & terrestrial radio.


Dead But Live

The Partners In Crime “live” album. Eleven tracks culled from various venues, some tracks recorded off the soundboard, others on a cheap cassette player, then EQ’d and mastered in glorious analog. Spanning the bands years of 1985 through 1986, this CD, much like the band, pulls no punches. Four of the six tunes from their legendary Mutha Records EP: “No Big Deal” are featured on this disc. Does not disappoint!  Check out these reviews:


MAXIMUM ROCK N ROLL: “…very classy hard-ass punk…metal damage is kept at a minimum, power is upped, and off they rock…”

PIPELINE: “The six tunes on this EP…put the roll in rock”

THE AQUARIAN WEEKLY:  “…singer Dawn Gaye wipes the floor with the objects of her disdain while J. Howard Duff crushes stone with feedback and riffing. No fat, no filler, and cataclysmic at high volume.”

JERSEY BEAT: “…a thick mass of snarling distorto guitars, determined to send us to hell/heaven. Their songs are anthems; their melodies direct…this disc will knock your sox off!”

This release is available as a special order item only. Contact us to place your order!



The 2011 CD release of J. Howard Duff (that’s me!) & Greg John, who together form the blues duo known as Metro Blues. I am the guitarist/vocalist & Greg is the blues harp player. We started performing together in 2000, and still do to this day. Once known as “Bluffton’s Blues Boys”, we were gigging five nights a week when the Lowcountry still had its appreciation of its Southern musical roots.

From blues clubs in Savannah, to Redneck parties in Lobeco (where we got paid with Boston Butt), we were there. This CD features eleven tunes that were staples of our repertoire in those days.





This was a project that I put together in 2009 that featured nine different Christian artists & aggregations. Its purpose was to raise funds for World Vision, an organization who both my wife & I are affiliated with. Their work with kids in impoverished areas is amazing. The CD sales, and a concert that featured many of the artists raised close to 10K for the charity. Profits from the sale are still forwarded bto World Vision. The 15 songs range in style from blues, R&B, bluegrass, reggae, acoustic & contemporary Christian

This release is available as a special order item only. Contact us to place your order!



A tribute to the musical career of Rich Lester (1949-1995), singer, songwriter, performer, artist, poet, my second cousin, band mate and my best friend. The recordings on this CD feature some rare performances by Rich accompanied by various New Jersey musicians. Starting with The Institution in 1965, through some of his final solo sessions that I was honored to play on and produce, this CD brings the man back to life through his music. All proceeds from the sales of this CD are directed to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. 

This release is available as a special order item only. Contact us to place your order!



A song I wrote in 2015 along with a very talented student of mine, Hannah Joy Brown. It was adopted by the Bluffton South Carolina Chamber of Commerce as the official song of Bluffton. A video of the song appears on the video page of my website.

If you'd like to buy the song here is a link to it on CD Baby.

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A RARE DVD of a 1985 performance of Partners in Crime at the legendary Brighton Bar in Long Branch, NJ. The entire set is captured on this DVD along with bonus footage of the bands soundcheck. I quote from the liner notes of the project when it was slated to be released in 2009, but “due to circumstances beyond our control”, never was…”They were much-heralded but short lived. Their one release went top ten in European & Asian markets, and was a college radio punk staple.

On a rainy night in the winter of 1985, Partners In Crime brought the music they called “Rockcore” (defined by one writer as if…”The Ramones, The Stones & The Sex Pistols were all mixed together and fronted by a chick”) to the Brighton Bar in Long Branch. Play this now & play this often!”

This release is available as a special order item only. Contact us to place your order!