Jeff Newsom, the Teton Valley musician known for his harmonica playing, died Thursday after an 18-month battle with illness. He was 52 years old.
Newsom, who lived in Driggs, was diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, in February 2010. In April of that year, friends held a huge benefit for him at The Wildwood Room in Victor and celebrated the release of a CD of his music, called The Henhouse Tapes.
Newsom played blues for years with Bob Greenspan, as well as with Loose Ties, Derrik and the Dynamos, and U.S. Bluez. Earlier in his career, he blew the harp with Otis Rush and Gary B.B. Coleman. He often sat in with touring bands who passed through Jackson Hole, including Rick Danko, the late bassist for The Band.
Friend and fellow musician David Swift called him, “A brilliant mind, a monster wit, a true cat.”