Guitarist and singer Hosea Hargrove, an artist often referred to as the godfather of Austin blues, died early Monday morning. His daughter, Hosetter Irwin, confirmed the news with an emotional post on his Facebook page Monday night. “My Daddy, a.k.a. the blues man, has got his heavenly wings,” she wrote. He was 86.
“ Hosea is the foundation of music itself for Austin. He was here 60 years ago playing in all these small clubs,” Eddie Stout, founder of the local blues label Dialtone Records, said on Wednesday morning.
Hargrove grew up East of Austin near Smithville. He was a self-taught guitar man.
“I didn’t take no kind of music lessons or nothing,” Hargrove told the Statesman in 2011. “Nobody could get used to my style. They couldn’t stop me from doin’ nothin’.”
“He didn’t listen to records,” Stout said. He’d hear songs on the radio or a jukebox, then go home and try to recreate them. “His chord changes were different from the record because he didn’t know exactly how it went. So what he made up is what he stuck with.”
Hargrove played extensively in Austin clubs and Stout took him to Europe once. He never achieved widespread acclaim, but his local influence was significant.
Guitar legend Jimmie Vaughan was among the artists who studied Hargrove’s style.
“ Jimmie Vaughan used to come to Elgin and sit in with me when he was young, before his brother even played,” Hargrove said in 2011.
Hargrove was inducted into the Austin Music Awards Hall of Fame in 2009.
“Without people like Hosea nobody would be here. None of the stars that we know today,” Stout said. “They all relied on some kind of foundation and Hosea built that foundation.”