In Memoriam: Guitar Shorty (1934 – 2022)

David William Kearney (September 8, 1934 – April 20, 2022), known as Guitar Shorty, was an American blues guitarist, singer and songwriter. He was known for his explosive guitar style and wild stage antics. Credited with influencing both Jimi Hendrix and Buddy Guy, Guitar Shorty recorded and toured from the 1950s until the 2010s. In 2017, Billboard magazine said, “his galvanizing guitar work defines modern, top-of-the-line blues-rock. His vocals remain as forceful as ever. Righteous shuffles…blistering, sinuous guitar solos.”

On May 10, 2016, his touring van and trailer was stolen with most of his instruments and gear. An online fundraiser and several benefit concerts were organized in Los Angeles to help him with the financial losses, including a special performance with The Chambers Brothers.

Guitar Shorty released his album Trying To Find My Way Back in 2019, produced by Jerry “Swamp Dogg” Williams and Larry “MoogStar” Clemons. He also played lead guitar on Crazy Tomes’ single “Livin’ on Memories”, released in 2020. He continued to tour with his band of many years that included Dan Gerass (Drums), Crazy Tomes (Guitar and vocals) Malcolm Lukens (Keyboards) and Wadada Khufu (bass).

He died on April 20, 2022, in Los Angeles, at the age of 87.