Music is nature's language. What it is telling you is to shut up for once and listen.

 

This is exactly the problem with Jeff Healey, he is a white blond Canadian boy that looks like he just came out of a church bake sale, but plays like the devil is in his chords. That is exactly the problem and that is exactly why I love him.

 

 

You cant sell news stories that have data and cautious predictions. Where is the panic? Where is the impending doom? C'mon people , give me something to work with here…

    Opinions / Science / Theory of Relative Ignorance  
 

..and as I was a yuppy marketing and advertising executive for the better part
of a decade, I am not really impressed with stories of selling your soul to the devil...

    Art & Culture / Music / Blues / Robert Johnson  
   

Jeff Healey - Blind boy blues

It is a known fact that you can't get your official bluesman membership card if you don’t have some disability that you can put in your name. Blind willie something,  fat joe whatshisname, limping Louis…. I don’t know, you need something. Being blind seems to be a big hit in this category, and Jeff Healey is a proud member of the tribe.

 
 
I know your mother taught you
how to bake cherry a pie, and read a book
Your daddy taught you how to tell a lie,
and not get shook

Let me tell you somethin', baby
You better learn,
If you're gonna con the con man,
You're liable to get burned girl"
 

Now, the fact he is white does take away from the whole blind thing a little, because let's face it, if your name is not winter , blues is not a whiteman's game… (and Clapton can go and…) but he does play with the guitar on his knees which is very bluesy in a strange way, so…

This is exactly the problem with Jeff Healey, he is a white blond Canadian boy that looks like he just came out of a church bake sale, but plays like the devil is in his chords. That is exactly the problem and that is exactly why I love him.

 
Can you see the light,
Can you see the light of need shinin' in my eye?
Can you see the light,
Can you see the light of need shinin' in my eye?

Well, you know I need you baby,
And I sure ain't gonna tell you no lie"
 
Healey doesn’t really play straight forward blues most of the time, and songs like "angel eyes" are almost a minor equivalent to Clapton's "wonderful tonight", a cheesy romantic piece which I listen to when nobody is looking, with its slow melancholic lead guitar ringing so sweet.

But Healey is at his best not writing ballads, not even power ones like he is so good at, but when he is on stage, when that raw power comes flowing through the guitar and we all can see the light, the light you don’t need to have eyesight to see.
 
 

I progressed through so many different styles of music through my teen years, both as a player and a vocalist, particularly the jazz and pop of the early 20th Century."

 
Although the feel is always on the blues side of the tracks, and the solos are perfectly created for maximum whining crying shouting effect what really is interesting in Healey's music is the basic riffs of the songs, which for me sometimes bring back memories of angus young and his three chords huge universe of riveting riffs.

One of the attributes of a great musician is the ability to collaborate with others In a synergy that creates a total bigger than the sum of the components, and Healey does that brilliantly with some of the most talented people in the pinnacle of blues, Stevie ray Vaughan, dr john, Eric Clapton, Marcus miller and  others of that caliber.
 
I've said that playing the blues is like having to be black twice. Stevie Ray Vaughan missed on both counts, but I never noticed."
 
 

He manages to keep the Healey spirit, and still be an integral part of the other musician experience, merging into a powerful force of creative hammered and pulled strings, and it sounds good. Very good indeed.

 
 

Healey started playing at the age of three, which explains a lot about his strange technique and bizarre chord fingerings, but what is much more important in his personal history is the fact that from a young age he was hosting a jazz and blues radio show where he played from his huge collection of old 78's gramophone records. it is this solid base, this knowledge of the great music of the early modern music scene, that gave him the musical depth to be a great musician and guitar player.

I was always a big believer in learning from the past before you start running in amok to the future, and you can see the results of a great musical education, not learning how to play like everybody else, learning what music is all about.

 

Not only did I get to play with these great international musicians, but I also had the opportunity to jam with the local celebrities in Toronto, people like the Walsh Brothers, David Wilcox, Kim Mitchell and the like. It was a great learning experience."

 
 
Healey died of cancer in 2008, leaving a wife and children. Not in a bar room brawl, not of an overdose or liver failure. After all, he was a chubby white Canadian. And a great guitar player and song writer. Even in the cheesy parts of his career (which I will still not admit I like , but you already know the truth…)