R.I.P., Michael "Iron Man" Burks

One of the acts we've been most looking forward to catching at the upcoming Chesapeake Bay Blues Festival (May 19 & 20) in Annapolis is that of the Delta Guitar Slingers, consisting of guitarists and singers Michael "Iron Man" Burks, Bernard Allison, and Lurrie Bell. So we were of course greatly disappointed when we read the news of the death of 54-year-old Burks Sunday on his way home from a European tour. According to Burks' label, Alligator Records, he had just wrapped up recording a new CD, which is scheduled for release this summer.

While we have no doubt that Allison and Bell - for both of whom you might say blues runs in the blood, as the sons of guitarist Luther Allison and harmonica player Carey Bell, respectively - will put on a pretty spectacular set together in Annapolis, Burks' fiery fretwork and smoky vocals will certainly be missed, not just on this particular afternoon but on many others to come. That said, we have to think that even if the Iron Man can't be there in person, Allison and Bell will help to make sure all in attendance know he's with us in spirit.

In lieu of flowers or cards, Burks' family has asked that donations in his memory be made to The Blues Foundation's HART (Handy Artists Relief Trust) Fund for blues musicians and their families in financial need due to health concerns or death.
 

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