The Passing of Duane Jarvis

There are few people I respect and admire more than those who bypass the easy paths in life in favor of something less tangible. Some turn out to be known by the masses, a few make a great living, but most continue to write, sing, paint, film and so on, despite the massive challenges of going this route. Most don't have health insurance and few can rely on a steady paycheck. But they do it anyway. And what's always grabbed me about these people is that the majority of them are incredibly intelligent. If they had wanted a job in insurance or on Wall Street, most would've had little trouble doing so. But they were after something greater. The financial returns weren't a part of their plan, and I can only guess, in many cases the potential monetary troubles weren't even considered all that much. They went with their hearts and they followed a road that proved erratic, taxing, but in the end, the only road they could take.

By all accounts, Duane Jarvis was one of these people. When he moved from his hometown of Portland, OR to Los Angeles in the mid-80's he said this:

"I was sort of starving in Portland in the mid-'80s, so I figured I might as well go starve in L.A. where it's warm. And there were so many great bands down there at the time. The Blasters were happening, as well as Rank & File, Los Lobos, the Plimsoles, Peter Case, Lone Justice. My first year in L.A. sucked, but I did okay after that. It's difficult to move from a very comfortable place to one of the biggest cities in the world, especially without any friends, but it worked out great. I eventually got to play with a lot of my heroes."

And that he did. He went on to play with Lucinda Williams, Buddy Miller, John Prine, Giant Sand, John Wesley Harding, Amy Rigby and many, many others. He also released five solo records.

After a battle with colon cancer, Duane Jarvis passed away last night. I have a friend who knew Duane well. The way she described Duane over the past few days paints a legacy of a man who was adored by many. I never met Duane, but from his music to the way he touched many, there's little doubt that he will be remembered for not just his music, but for who he was.


Bart Day said...

Very sorry to hear of his passing. On top of his musical prowess, he was truly the nicest guy in the world.