Jeff Golub (1955-2015): An Appreciation

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Jeff Golub, the do-it-all guitarist who had faced health-related adversity in recent years, succumbed to progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) today. He was fifty-nine years old.

Hired for long stints in the bands of Bill Squier and Rod Stewart, Golub had also served as a sideman for music luminaries ranging from Ashford and Simpson and John Waite to Rick Braun and Robben Ford. He got going on a career as a bandleader first by heading up the Avenue Blue contemporary jazz group and then embarking on a full-fledged solo career in the late 90s.

We surveyed Golub’s last two albums, a couple of strong career finishing projects. Said Nick DeRiso of Jeff Golub’s 2011 blues tribute release The Three Kings: “(Golub) compiled the expected all-star amalgam in this tribute to the blues stylings of The Three Kings — Albert, B.B. and Freddie. Yet it is his guitar work, canny and sharp-edged, that holds everything together.”

The same month that Kings was released, Jeff Golub suffered a collapsed optical nerve, which robbed him of his eyesight. Undeterred, Golub went on to make another album, 2013’s Train Keeps A Rolling with a big assist from the Hammond B3 organ and Fender Rhodes of Brian Auger. Here, Golub drew from blues, jazz and classic rock and crafted them together in a retro, soulful and gritty vibe. S. Victor Aaron called Train “a fun affair that doesn’t jam too hard but doesn’t get too slick, either; (it) finds a happy medium.”

Between the onset of his blindness and the Auger collaboration, Jeff Golub was nearly killed when he fell onto the tracks of a New York subway; the incident gave the name to his next and final album. He ended up surviving that with only minor injuries but could not overcome the PSP he was diagnosed with in November, an extremely rare but incurable brain disease.

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