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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

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 »»»
Blue Nightfall CD review - Blue Nightfall
Following an absence of four years, Texas-Oklahoma singer and songwriter Jimmy LaFave returns to the studio for 11 new "red dirt" originals (plus a cover of Gretchen Peters' "Revival") that can only solidify and maintain his stature as one of our most poetically direct artists. In fact, the depth and breadth of the material suggests that, if anything, he has evolved and matured dramatically during a career stage when more mainstream-minded artists are content to ride out past glories, rest on »»»
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: Stapleton places trust in power of song – Chris Stapleton's unlikely mainstream country popularity has graduated the scruffy singer/songwriter from large theaters to the hockey stadiums, and one had to wonder how much this audience growth would affect his performing style. If tonight is any indicator, though, it hasn't changed much. His wife Morgane was absent, as she's home... »»»
Concert Review: It's no wonder that 10 String Symphony stays busy – To say that Rachel Baiman has been busy might be an understatement. Last year, she released the very fine "Shame" CD and toured behind that. Just last month, she and musical collaborator Christian Sedelmyer put out their third album, "Generation Frustration," under the moniker 10 String Symphony. The two were on an ultra-short tour... »»»
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