'bout Mr. Never... 

It has been said that during performances, J. Carleton Dorchester, aka Johnny Never, channels the deep rooted spirit and soul of the original Delta and Piedmont blues greats. His music is indeed inspired by the old time blues masters, but he is no mere mimic. His original compositions possess the qualities of the genuine article, delivered through deft finger-style guitar work and a voice that rings with authenticity, yet it remains original and refreshing. His interpretations of vintage blues standards is as original as it is honest to the spirit of the source. 


            " John Carleton, (aka Johnny Never), is probably the most refreshing thing I’ve heard this year, where blues is concerned. "  -Bill Chicken Wilson - Blues Reflections Magazine  


In performances for venues large and small, he plays an entertaining mix of Vintage Blues, peppered with popular jazz standards from the 1920s, 30s, and 40s, as well as timeless originals that have gotten radio play around the world.   He performs in blues and folk festivals, bars and music halls, from Memphis to Ontario, Canada.  Johnny and his partner, John Colgan-Davis won the regional Blues Challenge for the Central Delaware Blues Society in 2023 and will be at the International Blues Challenge in January 24.  He was a quarter finalist in the IBC in 2014. In 2011, Johnny and his band were the only local band to perform in a Philadelphia Folksong Society concert featuring Guy Davis and other national acts, in honor of the 100th birthday of Robert Johnson.

His latest album, Blue Delta,  has  been enthusiastically received on radio and internet blues stations around the world, from California to Congo, New York to New Dehli, and has gotten rave reviews. 


 Johnny Never and John Colgan-Davis
                    (Two Johns)

Johnny's work with harmonica player, John Colgan-Davis, offers enthusiasts a duo "reminiscent of Carey and Lurie, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee".   The two Johns perform in the greater Philadelphia area from Northern Delaware to Bucks County and New Jersey.   The pair will be competing at the 2024 IBC in Memphis. 


John Colgan-Davis - Harmonica 
John Colgan-Davis started playing the harmonica in local blues and folk clubs back in the late 1960s while he was still a high school student. He played and recorded with Philadelphia singer-guitarist Jesse Graves and played and recorded with Bonnie Raitt when she lived in Philadelphia in the early 1970s. Through Bonnie, John got to meet and play with Mississippi Fred McDowell, Arthur Crudup, Buddy Guy, Skip James, Mississippi John Hurt, and others. He has toured the Midwest and recorded two CDs, Cold and Lonesome on a Train and Heroes and Hard Times, with Tennessee bluesman Sparky Rucker. He performed and toured for three years with The John Cadillac Band. A founding member of The Dukes of Destiny, John also taught Social Studies at Friends Select School in Philadelphia for 29 years and has written articles and supplements for The Philadelphia Inquirer on Blacks in the American West, Black Literature, the History of Black Philadelphia, and other topics.


“… Johnny Never is the real deal!! Delta and Piedmont blues rarely heard this far north! A rare treat.”   - Dave Strickler – Baltimore Blues Society    

"Johnny Never, has crawled into the skin of acoustic blues greats from the Piedmont to the Delta, and gives authenticity to the music that he has studied, performed and loved for so many years - so much so, that he is the spiritual son of many names both famous and long forgotten.”  -Jamey Reilly - Jamey’s House Of Music, Landsdowne PA. 




One John

Johnny Never solo



Two Johns

Johnny Never and John Colgan-Davis


Three Johns

The Delta Johns

Performance Resume

Ardmore Blues Festival, 2010, 2011, 2012
Blast Furnance Blues Festival, Bethlehem, PA, 2014, 2015,2017, 2018
Beverly Blues Festival 2023
Brandywine Folk Festival, 2012
Bucks County Blues Society Festival 2021
Chestnut Hill Summer Music Series, 2021
Elkton Summer Concerts Series, Elkton MD 2013, 2015
Glen Providence Park Summer Concert serties 2023
 IBC Quarter Finalist 2014
Mainstay Summer Concerts 2014
Philadelphia Blues Society Arbury Concert Series 2022
River Front Blues Festival, Wilmington DE, 2011 & 2014 
Road House Blues Festival, Magnolia, DE 2014, 2015
St. Georges Blues Festival 2015
St Georges Summer Music Series, 2021
State Street Blues Stroll, Media PA 2008, though 2019
Tyler State Park Music in The Meadow Series, 2018, 2019, 2021
River Front Blues Festival, Wilmington DE, 2011 & 2014
Road House Blues Festival, Magnolia, DE 2014, 2015
Fete De La Musique, West Chester, PA, 2022
Rosendale Folk Fest, Rosendale, NY. 2021,