Thanks Jeff – R.I.P., Jeff Healey.

Wildflowers, Chugach Mountains, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Hey Folks,

Here’s another post that has little to do with photography. I recorded this little piece tonight, in tribute to one of my favorite guitar players, Jeff Healey, who died recently. Jeff was a bluesman and musician of the highest order. I hadn’t heard the news until a few days a ago, and am deeply saddened to learn of his passing. Jeff was an amazing musician, full of all the fire, passion and soul we all aspire to. I had the great fortune to see Jeff play on a tour to Australia years back, in the late 80’s, at a small venue in Sydney, and he was awesome. Jeff tore it up like few other musicians would, stepping into realms few other players dare venture – it takes an awful lot of courage to play with the kind of passion Jeff did – because there’s nothing left uncovered, nothing that isn’t completely exposed when you bare open your soul like that. It’s an inspiration to witness that level of honesty in a human being.

Jeff suffered from a rare form of cancer, Retinoblastoma, and as a result lost his eyesight early in his childhood. The cancer finally took his life, at age 41, March 2nd, 2008.

Jeff played guitar in an unorthodox manner, seated, with the guitar horizontal across his lap, fingering the left hand notes from above the guitar, like a piano player might play, and his right hand strumming horizontally across the strings. I couldn’t even imagine trying to play like that, and was left in awe after watching Jeff rip for 2 solid hours, playing the blues like a man possessed.

Jeff, the world’s a better place because of you and the gifts you shared; we’ll all miss you. Deepest and most sincere best wishes to your wife and two little children, Derek and Rachel. In recognition of your first album, “See The Light”, I’m sure you’re now in a place where you see the light forever, brother. In two words Jeff, Thank you.



I wish I had a bass to play on the track, and some keyboards, but for now, a couple of guitar tracks and a simple drum pattern will do. Maybe one day I’ll flesh it out and play it properly, but for the moment, I like the spontaneity and raw feel of this take. Please don’t download it without permission.

R.I.P, Jeff.


6 thoughts on “Thanks Jeff – R.I.P., Jeff Healey.

  1. Tom Harrrell

    Great piece Carl, really enjoyed your tribute. I like Jeff Healy alot as well. My wife was a big fan when we first met and turned me on to him. I hadn’t heard he died until I read your post on Backpacker. A huge loss to rock-n-roll.

  2. Mark

    I admit to not being familiar with Jeff’s work, your tribute is a real pleasure to listen to though. Someday I may need to hire you to play at a slideshow. Wouldn’t that be cool!?!

    I have been turned onto so many musicians after they have past – and really miss the chances I would have had to see them perform if I had only been enlightened earlier. I’ll look at Jeff’s work and sounds like he will be another.

  3. Carl Donohue

    Hey Mark,

    Thanks man, I appreciate it You know, I think it’d be killer to do a live music/slideshow gig sometime. I’m gunna finally get my sh** together sometime and record a couple of tracks, put some images to it and put it in on my website. I’ve done it before using other artists tracks, but can’t get permission from Record Company folks to use the tunes. In a way, that’s a good thing, because it means I have to do it myself, which is the way it should be. Not as good as a live thing, but better than 5 minutes of TV.

    Speaking of musicians passing, I still give my dad a hard time for not taking me to the original Woodstock show – I could’ve seen Jimi! (Admittedly, I was 6 months old, but still … ) šŸ™‚

    I think you’ll like Jeff’s music – pretty hard rockin blues, with rippin guitar.”See the Light” is my favorite of his.



  4. PiLL HiP

    I canĀ“t believe it.
    I read it in the German net:
    “Blind guitar genius dies at 41”

    I liked him so and bought the JHB cds
    (i.e. “Lost in your eyes”, “Blue Jeans Blues”, etc.).

    So IĀ“ll hope and get this dashing talentĀ“s latest album “Mess Of Blues”.

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