Jeff Healy : Mess of Blues

jeff_healy_mess_blues.jpgThe late blues guitar great Jeff Healey is captured during a set recorded at Jeff Healey’s Roadhouse club in Toronto in late 2007 on Mess of Blues. Healey was a blind musician due to a rare form of cancer, retinoblastoma, and he developed a unique "lap" style of playing guitar that won legions of faithful fans across the globe. Those that remember the movie Roadhouse and Healey’s 1988 Grammy nominated See the Light or his early 1990’s work will revel in Mess of Blues. The live disc features Healey co-conspirators Dale Murphy on keyboard and vocals, Dan Noordermeer on guitar, and Al Webster on drums. Alec Fraser plays bass as well as co-producing the album with Healey.

Healey’s fretwork soars with searing intensity, bringing added punch to the blues standards, "I’m Torn Down" and "How Blue Can You Get." A divine sense of re-interpretation stretches across the broad canvass of Mess of Blues, illustrating Healey’s formidable musical chops. Whether he is covering Hank Williams’ "Jambalaya," The Band’s "The Weight," Neil Young’s "Like a Hurricane" or "How Blue Can You Get," Healey drops anchor dead center in the group’s bawdy sound and fills the tune with absorbing wit, drenching lead guitar workouts and smoky, soulful vocals.

A keen sense of mission captured the well-traveled Healey at the young age of 17, and his otherworldly presence dominates the eclectic and addictively entertaining Mess of Blues recording. Jeff Healey (3/25/66- 3/2/08) will be missed, and those seeking out his catalogue should be steered toward the rewarding Mess of Blues.          

Mess of Blues is out April 22 on Ruf.