The Jeff Healey Band Play “See The Light”

See_the_LightListen to this track by fiery Torontonian guitarist, singer, and all around blues-rock titan Jeff Healey along with his two compatriots Joe Rockman on bass and Tom Stephen on drums; The Jeff Healey Band. It’s “See The Light”, the title cut and closing track on their 1988 debut record See The Light.

The notable point that critics and fans made about Healey on his debut beyond his blindness was his re-definition on how to play guitar. Playing the instrument more like a piano, he held the chords in an inverted manner, playing the instrument in his lap. That he was able to do this and still completely wail while doing so was akin to trying to figure out how bumblebees fly; that he shouldn’t be able to do it the way he did, but he somehow managed it anyway. This caused something of a sensation, and by the next year Healey and his bandmates would appear as a version of themselves in the 1989 movie Roadhouse with Patrick Swayze, in which Healey’s every line seemed to start with the expositionary phrase “well, word on the street is …”. Otherwise, who but Healey could have played a blind white blues guitarist with such credibility?

Healey would of course carry that credibility over into his music career, during a period when the blues in the mainstream was just coming into its own after a period in the wilderness. This was not simply down to gimmickry, but rather down to something more vital; a consuming interest from the artist as to where the music he played originally came from. Read more

Goodbye, Jeff Healey

Jeff HealeyBlues guitarist and jazz enthusiast Jeff Healey passed away yesterday of cancer. He was 41.

Read the full story here.

Besides some songs he had on Canadian radio at the end of the 80s, the thing I remember best him from was the 1989 movie Roadhouse in which he played, and wasn’t it a stretch, a blind blues-rock musician.

Here’s a performance of the title song from that movie, first made famous by the Doors: “Roadhouse Blues“.

Healey would expand his palette in more recent years as a jazz DJ, playing rare tracks from his own collection of music, many cuts taken from the original 78s.

‘Bye, Jeff.

Image courtesy of ckaiserca.