Jeff Healey – for those who didn’t know him, Jeff was a blind blues guitarist, singer, songwriter and who also dabbled in jazz music. Adopted as an infant, at 8 months old Healey lost his sight to retinoblastoma, a rare cancer of the eyes. The eyes had to be surgically removed, and he was given artificial replacements. Due to his blindness he learned to play the guitar in a unique style of playing the instrument flat on his lap. At the age of 17 he started playing in bands, forming them with local musicians in his hometown of Toronto.
He first came to prominence with the Jeff Healey Band’s 1988 debut album See The Light and an appearance in the Patrick Swayze film Roadhouse. Hell To Pay followed in 1990 & Feel This in 1992 getting him more radio play and a few awards. 1995 saw the release of a covers album, titled Cover To Cover and it was 2000 by the time his next original material was released with Get Me Some. Jeff started being more interested in jazz and paying in jazz bands. He also started a club in Toronto where he would play with blues & jazz musicians as well as offering others a place to show their talent. On March 2, 2008, Healey died of cancer at St. Joseph’s Health Centre; his death came a month before the release of the album, Mess of Blues, which was his first rock/blues album in eight years.