Austin Singer-Songwiter Jimmy LaFave, A Local Favorite, Dies

Brunilde Fioravanti
Mag 24, 2017

Jimmy LaFave, a beloved Austin musician who announced in April he had been diagnosed with a rare, fast-growing cancer, has died.

The LaFave Family regrets to inform Jimmy's friends and fans across the world that the Austin based singer-songwriter passed from this world, surrounded by loved ones in his home on May 21, 2017 after a courageous battle with cancer. He, Bob Childers and Terry Buffalo Ware are credited with establishing red dirt music. With very little known about the disease and how to treat it, according to a statement from LaFave's family, "it is clear that Jimmy is not going to be living the long fruitful life that he hoped for and that we would wish for him".

LaFave moved to Austin in the mid-1980s and gradually rose to the fore of the city's music scene.

In 1992, he signed with Bohemia Beat Records and released Austin Skyline, kicking off one of the busiest times of his career. He was named Vocalist of the Year and his band was named Band of the Year in the Music City Poll of Austin Insiders in 1991. He appeared on the show with Lisa Loeb for a concert featuring "acoustic ballads and electrified folk-rock numbers". He also played in Tulsa, closing a Woody Guthrie festival. He also put together a tour of Woody Guthrie music in 2003 that toured the country. He was a prolific recording artist, much praised for such albums in the 2000s as Blue Nightfall and Cimarron Manifesto, releasing his final set, The Night Tribe, in 2015. The album received great reviews and went to Number 1 on the Americana Music Association chart. The sold-out event, hosted by Denberg, featured Christine Albert, Marcia Ball, Ruthie Foster, Butch Hancock, Eliza Gilkyson and Sam Baker, among many others.

LaFave was in the newest class of inductees to the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame, which will have its induction ceremony this June in Muskogee.

In 2005, LaFave told KXAN he liked playing in Austin because "I feel like I'm with my people".

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