Johnny Heartsman

Genres: Blues
Decades Active: 1980s 1990s

Biography

9 February 1937, San Fernando, California, USA, d. 27 December 1996. Heartsman grew up in Oakland and became renowned as ‘one of the blues’ most accomplished instrumentalists’ (Dick Shurman). As a youngster he was inspired to play guitar by the music of T-Bone Walker, Pee Wee Crayton, and Lafayette Thomas. He quickly developed into a sought-after band leader and studio musician. He recorded on guitar, bass, organ, and flute (he made his own first recordings in 1957 for the Music City label) and has played with a long list of west coast blues, R&B, and soul artists including Jimmy McCracklin, Joe Simon, Johnny Fuller, Jimmy Wilson, and Tiny Powell. Buddy Guy borrowed much of Heartsman’s playing on his version of ‘My Time After Awhile’. In 1976 Heartsman settled in Sacramento. He died following a heart attack in December 1996.

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