Jimmy LaFave has gone and left many hearts broken. I don’t remember when I first heard him sing, but I do remember it was love at first listen.
He was a guest on Mountain Stage nine times between 1995 and 2015. Since we repeat shows about a year after they are first aired, he was heard on Mountain Stage 18 times over those 20 years. He was due again this year. The reason why is obvious: he was one of America’s greatest singers.
Excellence and even genius is not always rewarded with fame and fortune. Jimmy was the poster boy of that fact.
After 9/11, I made a radio special called “Songs of Hard Times and Hope”. It included 25 Mountain Stage performances that moved me with their humanity: Steve Forbert’s “I Blinked Once”, Paul Brady’s “The World Is What You Make It”, Nick Lowe’s “What’s So Funny about Peace, Love and Understanding”, The Band’s “The Shape I’m In”, Julie and Buddy Miller’s “By Way of Sorrow”, Bruce Cockburn’s “Pacing the Cage”, Richard Thompson’s “Beat the Retreat” and more. Perhaps the most poignant song on that show was Jimmy’s “Long Ago with Miles Between”.
Jimmy was famous for his Dylan covers and he sang many of them over the years on Mountain Stage. In all, he probably sang about 50 songs on the show. Maybe someday we’ll make a two-hour special of just Jimmy on Mountain Stage. But all I want to put here is that one performance of “Long Ago with Miles Between”. Listen to it and your heart will break, too.
-Larry Groce, Host and Artistic Director: Mountain Stage.