Press Release - November 18, 2014
Family and Friends of Brian Griffith
Life of Brian Concert: A Tribute to Brian Griffith
Funeral Arrangements for
Hamilton’s Legendary Guitarist Announced
Thursday November 20, 2014
Doors 6:30PM · Show at 7PM
Bay City Music Hall
50 Leander Drive
Tickets available at
Picks and Sticks (140 Locke Street South) & at the Door
HAMILTON (Nov 18, 2014): Family and friends of Brian Griffith present the Life of Brian Concert: A Tribute to Brian Griffith on Thursday November 20, 2014 at Bay City Music Hall in Hamilton, Ontario. Doors open at 6:30PM and show starts at 7PM. Confirmed performers include Daimon Kennedy, Danny Lockwood, Jesse O'Brien, Steve Pelletier, Shawn Brush, Richard Keelan, John Ellison, Neil Nickafor, Mike Birthelmer, Colin Lapsley, Mike Rajczak, Lori Yates, Michelle Titian, Tone Valcic, Sharon Musgrave, Peter Grimmer, Tim Gibbons, Tomi Swick, Mary Simon, Alfie Smith, Jamie Oakes and Sean O’Grady. Performers are still being added. Tickets are available at Picks and Sticks, at 140 Locke St South, in Hamilton, or at the door (subject to availability). Tickets are expected to go fast. All proceeds will benefit Brian’s son, Daimon Kennedy.
As a member of the famed Washington clan, Brian Griffith has long been known as one Hamilton’s most influential guitarists. As a kid, he learned to play guitar by listening to his uncle, the iconic Jackie Washington. He has recorded and played with Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Daniel Lanois, Harrison Kennedy, Tom Wilson, Lori Yates and Dave Rave to name a few.
Griffith passed away suddenly on Friday November 14th. Visitation for Griffith will be held Wednesday between 2-4PM and 7-9PM, at Dodsworth and Brown Funeral Home, 15 West Ave. N. A funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday, at Stewart Memorial Church.
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Brian Griffith, who ‘inspired generations’, dies at age 60
Hamilton Spectator - By Graham Rockingham
The Hamilton music community is mourning the loss of Brian Griffith, a master guitarist who played and recorded with a wide range of artists including Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Daniel Lanois, Lori Yates, Tom Wilson, Dave Rave and Harrison Kennedy.
Griffith, one of the city's best loved musicians, died in his sleep at his Pine Street home Friday at the age of 60.
The night before, Griffith had cancelled his regular Thursday night gig at the Cat 'n' Fiddle pub, complaining of shortness of breath, said Eudene Luther, the guitarist's partner of 20 years. Griffith is survived by his son Daimon Kennedy.
Griffith was born and raised in Hamilton, growing up in a musical family, a nephew to the late great jazz and blues singer Jackie Washington.
He was known for his inspired electric blues, reggae and rock solos, but could also provide tasteful acoustic backing to more traditional folk, country and jazz.
Griffith was a regular on the city's club scene for decades despite gaining an international reputation as a respected studio guitarist.
Daniel Lanois, a Grammy-winning producer for acts such as Bob Dylan and U2, employed Griffith on several albums, including Willie Nelson's "Teatro" and Emmylou Harris's "Wrecking Ball."
"I never made the album I told Brian I would make with him, and that's not good," said Lanois, when told the news in Chicago where he performed a concert Friday night. "He was a world-class player. Not many people know this but he was also a great bass player. We go way back, 35 years."
Griffith won the Hamilton Music Award for guitarist of the year in 2004 and 2007. He also played on numerous other albums that won HMAs.
Hamilton Music Awards founder Jean-Paul Gauthier said he first saw Griffiths play guitar at the Patio Café on Duke Street with Fred Purser and The Washingtons.
"I was working as a dishwasher at my father's restaurant," recalls Gauthier. "I would have been about 12 at the time and we'd hang out when he had his break. Brian was the guy who made music cool for me."
Local singer/artist Jude Johnson was a longtime friend of Griffith. She remembers him as the most musical person she had ever met.
"We were in a musical commune together in 1975 at the corner of Mary and Cannon," said Johnson. "I'd go into his room and he'd be listening to Paganini's violin caprices. He would play these by ear on his guitar, note by note, practicing them over and over again for hours.
"He had the most beautiful hands. They found the notes. He breathed music. It flowed through him."
Tom Wilson heard about Griffith's death shortly before he went on stage last night with his folk-rock trio Blackie and the Rodeo Kings.
"Brian was really what Hamilton music was all about," Wilson said. "He was about neighbourhood. He loved playing on his block. Nobody else could give what he gave us. He inspired generations."
Local musician Chris Houston described Griffith's death as "a great loss to the community."
"He was a wonderful human being and he could outplay us all," Houston said. "We were all blessed to be able to play with him. It went beyond music. There was something deeply spiritual about the way he played."
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