Austin singer-songwriter Jimmy LaFave dead at 61

Jimmy LaFave (Music Road Records Facebook photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Just days after a farewell concert honoring the life and times of Austin’s own singer-songwriter Jimmy LaFave, the aggressive, incurable form of cancer he was diagnosed with in 2016 took him away.

LaFave died Sunday surrounded by loved ones in his home, his music label, Music Road Records announced Monday. Despite being often identified as being from Oklahoma due to musical ties to the state, LaFave had lived in Austin for nearly 30 years. He was born in Wills Point, Texas on July 12, 1955.

In 2005, LaFave told KXAN he liked playing in Austin because “I feel like I’m with my people. I like people in this part of the country and I think there’s a certain music that comes out of here that’s not affected by the East or West Coast. There’s a good purity to the music here.”

LaFave made several recordings in the city he loved, including 1992’s self-produced CD, Austin Skyline, which drew international attention. Riding the wave of that attention, LaFave taped an Austin City Limits performance in 1996, the same year he won his second consecutive Austin Music Award for Best Singer-Songwriter.

“Sometimes they call Austin ‘The Velvet Rut’ because it’s so nice here and you can just play music,” LaFave had told KXAN. “I kind of like sometimes going places where you’re a little less known and kind of just build crowds or just make sure that everyone hears a little of Austin, Texas music.”

In 2001, LaFave released Texoma, which received some of the best acclaims of his career. The ballad ‘Never is a Moment’ became a radio favorite and his most requested song ever.

LaFave, an admirer of Woody Guthrie, worked to promote his legacy around the world and served on the advisory board of the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival for 12 years.

LaFave will be posthumously inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame on June 14. He has also recently been added to the Austin Music Awards Hall of Fame.

LaFave is survived by his son Jackson LaFave of Austin, former wife, Barbara Fox of Austin, father, G.G “Frenchy” LaFave of Kingfisher, OK, siblings Garry LaFave of Cashion, OK, Lee Ann LaFave Swanson of Aurora, CO, Robert LaFave of Edmond, OK, Connie LaFave Gallupe of Kingfisher, OK, longtime friend and companion Ashley Warren of Austin, TX, and his adored Lab, Chief.

Before he passed, LaFave recorded numerous new, unreleased songs at his south Austin studio. It’s unknown when they may be released to the public.

His family asks that, instead of flowers, you make a donation to a pet charity of your choice or perform an act of kindness.

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