Sad news was released last Friday, as the independent music world lost an amazing talent, and the world lost an amazing individual. Jeff Hanson was found dead in his new apartment; preliminary reports are calling it an accidental fall. I met Jeff a few years back when he performed at a small art gallery in Moscow, ID. Everyone always talks about how his voice was like no other, but for me it was that coupled with the passion in which he relayed his songs to his audience.
Jeff Hanson’s Madame Owl was released last year by Kill Rock Stars. The label also released his first two records, Jeff Hanson and Son.
Those early releases followed me throughout graduate school; the perfect accompaniment to long drives between Seattle and my college town of Pullman, WA. Songs like “Hiding Behind The Moon” and “If You Ever Say” would blast from the speakers of my ’92 Buick Century as I floated along the rocky desert lands of the Cascade River Basin and by the rolling wheat fields of the Palouse.
All music is experiential. We associate words and events with certain songs as often as we relate similar events to our emotive state at the time they occurred. That’s what I remember about Jeff Hanson — the drives and that dark art gallery in Moscow where he performed his heart out, leaving the Idaho town with a new devoted fan. Me. Jeff Hanson, I know I’m not alone in saying this: You will be missed.