Looking for some music for a friend on YouTube early this morning, I read that Buster Jones died last year. I heard a couple of years ago that he’d not been well, but I didn’t realise he’d died. This is the second shock of this sort I’ve had recently, only having stumbled across the news of Kate McGarrigle’s death by accident a week or so ago.
I was lucky enough to meet Buster Jones at a party in California in 2001, when I went over to the States to attend the Healdsburg Guitar Festival. The party was organised by one of a bunch of online guitar pals of mine, and Buster turned up to sit outside in the sun, with a few beers and a packet of cigarettes, and just make people’s day by chatting and picking away at his guitar. He was friendly and charming and funny, and he told me he liked my accent 🙂
The following day he sat with his friend, Thom Bresh (son of the legendary Merle Travis), on the porch outside one of the festival display rooms, and they just sat and picked for at least an hour. Standing there in the sun and watching them was one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life: quite wonderful. The concert that night was fantastic, but standing just feet away and feeling part of the fun they had playing together was truly life enhancing stuff. I often take a copy of their album Guts & Steel with me when I walk, and I’ll definitely have it on the Challenge this year.
Buster was only 49 when he died. That’s just a year older than I am now. He was a really quite astounding guitarist, and I’ll never forget the thrill that his playing gave me back there in the Californian sun. I’m so very sorry to read that he’s no longer around.