Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Two accordion players gone

Last Thursday was a sad day in the music world with the passing of two wonderful musicians you may or may not have ever heard of.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band lost long-time keyboard player Danny Federici after a three year battle with melanoma. Danny and Bruce were friends who played together since they were teenagers. Danny's organ and accordion playing were signature E Street sounds, his riffs creating some of Bruce's most memorable music.

Chris Gaffney was a member of the Guilty Men, Dave Alvin's longtime backing band . . . and Dave's best friend and frequent writing partner. Backing Dave on guitar, accordion and vocals, Chris was key in creating Dave's rollicking electric folk music. Chris also had critical success as a songwriter and with his own band, The Hacienda Brothers. Chris had liver cancer.

What can you say? So the big C takes another couple of fine musicians way too soon. Certainly not the first, definitely not the last. Danny was 58, Chris 57. One east, one west. Both fathers, husbands; loved and cared for. Accordion players. Danny in one of the most popular bands ever. If you know Chris' name, you've been paying attention to the talented and obscure. Danny got to that place where he could just play music for a living. Chris tried, but often had to fall back on the day job. That's the music business. You can contribute to cancer research in Danny's name, and you can help Chris's family with medical expenses.

Bruce postponed last weekend's shows and posted a great clip of Danny playing with the band for the last time in March in Indianapolis.
Danny's son, Jason, posted this about that last performance.
Tom Russell posted this about his friend Chris.
Dave and Chris wrote and recorded Two Lucky Bums a few months ago as a tribute to their friendship. Nice story about the song too . . .
And, Dave is contributing the money from the download of Those Lonely, Lonely Nights that he recorded live with Chris.

What can you say . . .

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great losses indeed, both . . . I became a Chris Gaffney fan a ways back, certainly cemented by his performance with the Hacienda Brothers at the Bite of Oregon several years back , and with whom I have been in close touch with during the many fund raising events in his and his family's behalf. Thanks, Jim for being in touch with this loss.