Jerry Lightfoot, the journeyman blues guitarist, singer-songwriter, and advocate for unsung bluesmen in his native Houston, died Sept. 19 in an Austin hospital from injuries sustained in a fall. He was 55. Lightfoot, survived by wife Colleen, became enamored of the 13th Floor Elevators while growing up in working-class Pasadena, Texas, and later moved to the Bay area. He returned to Houston in the Eighties, and his group, the Essentials, became the house band at popular nightclub Rockefeller's, where they backed Albert Collins, John Lee Hooker, and Bo Diddley, among others. Lightfoot befriended, recorded with, and arranged shows for many of the leading figures of Houston's rich but obscure blues scene: Jimmy "T-99" Nelson, Joe "Guitar" Hughes, Katie Webster, Grady Gaines, Pete Mayes, and his mentor Big Walter "the Thunderbird," who appears on Lightfoot's most recent album, 2002's Texistentialism. "You hear Jerry play live, and you know he's going for it every night," pianist David Vest told the Houston Press in 2003.
Jerry Lightfoot 1951-2006
Emo's is hosting a benefit 5pm Sunday to help defray medical expenses for bartender Chris Tominaga, who was partially paralyzed in an automobile accident last year. Honky, High Divers, Horseshit Gunfire, Queen Anne's Revenge, Chalk Outlines, Johnny Cashdraw, and Nervous Hospital play outside; items from the Supersuckers, Sub Pop, Obsolete Industries, Mangia, Legs Diamond, and others will be up for bid at a silent auction. An account for Tominaga donations is set up at PayPal.com at the address firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have shopping and/or entertaining to do this week, local musicians would appreciate it if you waited until Tuesday, since 5% of that day's receipts from more than 50 local businesses benefit the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians. Participating merchants include Whole Foods, HEB, Antone's Records, Güero's Taco Bar, Jo's Hot Coffee, BookPeople, Amy's Ice Creams, El Arroyo, Sweetish Hill Cafe & Bakery, and many more. Also, Waterloo Ice House is donating 20% of the door from its monthlong "30 Bands in 30 Days" series to HAAM. For more information, see www.austinmusicianshealth.org.