Harpdog Brown, who was a legendary Canadian blues artist based out of Lacombe, died Friday, just a few weeks shy of his 60th birthday. (Photo submitted)

Harpdog Brown, who was a legendary Canadian blues artist based out of Lacombe, died Friday, just a few weeks shy of his 60th birthday. (Photo submitted)

Legendary Alberta blues musician Harpdog Brown passes away

“He was the real deal.”

Mike Bradford has known Harpdog Brown by reputation for a long time, but only recently met the long-time blues artist.

“I only did one show with him. That was last fall. I was very impressed with him and the show he put on. As a human being, I was very impressed with him, just as a person,” said Bradford, who is the president of the Central Alberta Music Festival Society.

Brown, who was a legendary Canadian blues artist based out of Lacombe, died Friday, just a few weeks shy of his 60th birthday.

“It is with great sadness to have to inform all of Harpdog’s fans.. friends.. and everyone he has touched.. that the legend himself passed away today in his home,” read a message on his Facebook page.

“Peacefully.. now he will be jamming with all his music mentors he talks of and loved to play their songs.”

Bradford said Brown was a legend in Alberta music circles. When he performed, the room simply changed.

“He’s a genuine soul. He wasn’t a blues pretender, he was a bluesman. He really felt the music,” Bradford explained.

“He knew what to do with it. He was the kind of guy that would bring joy to a room. People would get up and dance because of the exceptional spirit he brought to things.”

While he typically played blues tunes, Bradford said blues isn’t meant to be about being sad and Brown was able to capture that spirit.

“The music and them are one, what they do, the artistry and them is one. What they do, is they’re there to entertain people and bring some joy,” Bradford noted.

“The whole thing about the blues, it’s not sick and sad music. It’s the kind of music when it’s properly done is something that helps you overcome all your troubles and laugh at your condition, instead of wallowing in it. It’s really sad to see a guy go.”

Along with his band the Bloodhounds, Harpdog first played the Vat Pub in Red Deer in October of 1999. They were the finale for the Vat’s grand opening week of music.

Harpdog also recorded a live album at the Vat back in 2000 and hadn’t played the venue since March of 2001. He returned to Red Deer and played the Vat in December of last year.

“Our sincere condolences, to all who shared stories, enjoyed time with, and loved, this Harp, and Bluesman,” read a post on the Vat Pub’s Facebook page.

The long-time bluesman was recognized for his work over the past few years, earning the Harmoica Player of the Year in 2014, 2015 and 2016 at the Maple Blues Awards.



byron.hackett@reddeeradvocate.com

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