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Singer/songwriter LaFave dies at 61

Monday, May 22, 2017 – Veteran singer/songwriter Jimmy LaFave died at 61 on Sunday just three days after a tribute concert in his honor.

LaFave, who was influenced by Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan, was a staple of the folk and Americana scene, although never received widespread acclaim. Born in Willis Point, Texas on July 12, 1955, he later moved to Stillwater, Okla. Along with others, he helped develop the Red Dirt music sound of Oklahoma. LaFave released his first album, "Down Under," in 1979. LaFave released 19 albums with his last one being "Trial 4" in 2015.

Perhaps his best-known disc was "Cimarron Manifesto" in 2007 on Red House Records.

LaFave was diagnosed with cancer, but kept it quiet. He announced he was battling spindle cell sarcoma. LaFave continued performing despite being told the cancer was incurable.

A concert honoring LaFave was held at the Paramount Theatre in Austin on May 18. Eliza Gilkyson, Slaid Cleaves and Ruthie Foster, plus Gretchen Peters, Ellis Paul and Guthrie's granddaughter Sarah Lee Guthrie performed. LaFave performed three songs himself, while in a wheelchair and on oxygen, according to published reports.

CD reviews for Jimmy LaFave

Peacetown CD review - Peacetown
Whether it's the ticking of a clock or the turning over a new calendar month, time is a precious commodity most routinely take for granted. However for anyone (or their families) battling a terminal illness, those ticks somehow sound louder. Musician and critically-acclaimed singer-songwriter Jimmy LaFave is no longer with us after passing away in May 2017 from cancer. But knowing time was fleeting, LaFave hunkered down and recorded some original songs as well as covers which seem to convey »»»
The Night Tribe CD review - The Night Tribe
After releasing 2 albums in 2014, one might think singer-songwriter Jimmy LaFave would still be touring in support of "Trail 2" and "Trail 3." But he's off on another trail this year with his latest effort "The Night Tribe." And like a great deal of his prior work, LaFave balances that combination of polished prose and delivery while still being a little rough around the edges. Such a duality makes for a very endearing album. While the record contains covers »»»
Cimarron Manifesto CD review - Cimarron Manifesto
Call it the Last Will and Testament of Jimmy LaFave. Being of sound mind, Mr. LaFave leaves the following: the obligatory tip of the hat to Dylan ("Not Dark Yet"), the call of the outstretched road song ("Car Outside") and the Woody Guthrie-styled pulse check on lost America ("This Land"). And what would we expect from this devoted disciple of the red dirt sound - disco? For the most part, it works nicely. LaFave's unusual voice skips the midtones, with a »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: The Lil Smokies provide the perfect antidote – On a night when the world to be falling further apart thanks to coronavirus (this would be the night the NBA postponed the season), there stood The Lil Smokies to at least in some small measure save the day. The quintet is part of a generation of musicians with bluegrass as the basis, but not totally the sum of the music either.... »»»
Concert Review: White makes the case for himself, no matter how dark the music – John Paul White opined with a glint in his eyes that his songs were not of the uplifting variety. In fact, they were downright dark. How else to explain "The Long Way" with the line "long way home back to you." Or "James," a song inspired by his grandfather who suffered from dementia. But lest you think that the Alabama... »»»
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