Louis Myers: 9/18/1929
Louis Myers was a Chicago blues guitarist and blues harpist most well known as a member of the Aces, the band playing behind harmonica genius Little Walter on his early work. The Aces originally also included Myers’ brother Dave as well as another harmonica legend in Junior Wells. After leaving Little Walter and the Aces in 1954, Louis Myers went on to perform as a sideman for many bluesmen including Earl Hooker and Otis Rush. He did record some solo work later in his life. He passed away on September 5, 1994.
A.J. Ghent: 9/18/1986
Aubrey Ghent Jr. or A.J. [j-ent] is great multi-genre guitarist who comes from a long line of musicians who even helped to pioneer a specific aspect of guitar playing. Ghent was born in Fort Pierce, Florida, an area that isn’t known for housing too much musical history, but that is where his family came in. Ghent’s great uncle and grandfather were early pioneers of the “sacred steel tradition” of slide guitar playing; in fact, his grandfather Henry Nelson was the founder! The short version of the technique was that steel slide guitars were used in gospel churches during worship. Now, A.J. is one of the notable modern players of this style and is steadily gaining recognition.
Ghent was also the guitarist in Colonel Bruce Hampton’s band before Hampton’s tragic on-stage death in 2017. Ghent and his band released an EP earlier this year and are producing a great mix of soul, gospel, and blues in their sound!
Ray Charles: 9/23/1930
This masterful pianist, singer, and lyricist captivated the world for decades after emerging in the early 1950’s and helping to define soul music. Rightfully christened “The Genius”, he helped create soul by combining gospel, R&B, and the blues. He would also successfully delve into other genres including jazz, pop, rock & roll and even country music. With dozens of hit songs, some of his most cherished numbers include the passionate “What’d I Say,” the boogie-woogie rock and roller “Mess Around,” the spirited “I Got a Woman,” the swingin’ “Hallelujah I Love Her So”, the unbridled “Hit the Road Jack,” the soulful “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” and his iconic recording of “Georgia On My Mind.” Ray Charles had a profound influence on an untold number of artists, notably including Etta Fitzgerald, Steve Winwood, Otis Redding, Eric Clapton, Nora Jones, and John Mayer. The praises and honors heaped upon The Genius have been many, including 1986 Kennedy Center Honor, 17 performance Grammy Awards, a Grammy lifetime achievement award, as well as the National Medal of the Arts, presented by then-President Bill Clinton. Charles passed away on June 10, 2004, a certified musical legend. His music remains the stuff of genius.
Roy Buchanan: 9/23/1939
Roy Buchanan was an originator, pioneer, and overall immensely talented musician until the day he passed away. He is one of those musicians who never received the recognition and respect that he truly deserved. He had two albums early in his career that went Gold, Guitar Player recognized him as having one of the “50 Greatest Tones of All Time,” and he still didn’t really “achieve stardom.” He even was a major pioneer of “the Telecaster sound.” Because of all this, he is one of the most underrated blues guitarists of all times. I highly recommended listening to him and seeing why he is one of the best!