Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown
Gatemouth was a Texas legend who played as many kinds of music as he did instruments. A true master of the blues guitar, adept with violin, harmonica, bass, and drums, as well as a fine, rough singer, Brown had never been content to be pigeonholed into any one style. Calypso, jazz, country and blues are all mixed into his folky, funky, roots-driven sound, which benefits from the breadth of his instrumental prowess. His originally stinging, trebly tone on the guitar (which was to influence the great bluesmen Albert Collins and Johnny Copeland) developed into a smoother, jazzier sound over the years and couldn't really be compared to anyone else. Brown was just as happy fiddling a hoedown, writing a blues number with biting lyrics, or playing a Big Band jazz chart. Fans kept him on the road and in the studio until illness started slowing him down in 2002. At age 81, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown survived Hurricane Katrina, only to pass away a week later from a combination of lung cancer and heart disease. You can hear the influence of his guitar in the music of everyone from Stevie Ray Vaughan to Brian Setzer.