Award winning Canadian Blues artist Harpdog Brown passed away on January 7th, 2022 just shy of his 60th birthday, January 28th. The news was revealed via his Facebook page with the following post on January 7th:
“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. Peacefully.. now he will be jamming with all his music mentors he talks of and loved to play their songs. He loved you all!”
Harpdog was born in Edmonton, Alberta in 1962. He was adopted by a musical family where his talent was nurtured through his youth. He started playing guitar in a local garage band when he was 15. He saw James Cotton at 17 and his path was set. He formed his own traveling blues band in the early 80’s and set off on the road. Along the way he spent some time on the Westcoast of Canada, in Vancouver, BC. It was at a show in Vancouver where he found his name. He was playing a gig and 2 gents were calling out Harpdog, Harpdog through the night. A few days later, he embraced the persona and eventually even made it legal by changing his name to Harpdog Brown. As he would always say, he’s the only Harpdog Brown, just google the name and you’ll see. His first independent release in 1992 was ‘Beware of Dog‘. A couple of years later he released ‘Home is Where the Harp Is‘ which won him the Muddy Award for Best North West Blues Release, from Cascade Blues Association in Portland. He is the only Canadian to have won the award. He has won a total of three Maple Blues Awards for Harmonica Player of the Year in Canada. He has also won a the Fraser Valley Music Award for Blues Artist of the Year and has a Hamilton Blues Society Lifetime Award.
He has toured extensively through Canada, the US and overseas over the years and was the real deal when it came to the blues. From playing solo shows, to duos, to full bands like the Houndogs, Harpdog was completely dedicated to the genre. He was a truly great performer. He knew how to captivate an audience, engage with them and share the stories through his lyrics. He always paid homage to the greats and remained grounded. He has numerous album credits and always enjoyed playing on other artists’ tracks.
On a personal note, I first met Harpdog one night in White Rock, BC at a local show where we quickly discovered a mutual appreciation for music, women and fine cigars. He was larger than life and had a magnetic personality. He was a gentle giant with a huge heart, but would not hesitate to let you know what he thought, especially if you were fake or full of it. He will be missed in the North American Blues community.
Another Bluesman has gone home…
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