Thursday, March 08, 2007

Farewell Paul deLay

Word has been filtering to the blues community that the multi-talented Paul deLay passed away from Leukemia. deLay had performed last weekend, and went into a Portland Hospital on Sunday when what was thought to be acute bronchitis turned out to be acute, end term Leukemia. On Tuesday he fell into a coma and died Wednesday, March 7.

deLay was a innovative blues harmonica player who incorporated jazz influences into his style. While a virtuouso, hi playing demonstrated a subtlety in his solos that eschewed simple crowd pleasing gimmicks. He also was a strong songwriter and vocalist with a soulful sound. He was also backed by a terrific band.

In the earlier part of his career, substance abuse hampered his career. After serving time for drug trafficking, he cleaned up and his career was rejuvenated producing several excellent albums including Ocean of Tears and Heavy Rotation for Evidence. I had the pleasure to hear him perform and meet him and he was a fabulous artist as well as a wonderful person. He will be missed.

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