Jeff Newsom is a fine harmonica player based in Driggs, Idaho. I met Jeff in August 2001 at the Grand Targhee Bluegrass Festival, where he offered (with no prompting from me) to introduce me to Tony Furtado, with whose band Jeff and I ended up jamming to close out the Festival. That little story tells you a lot about what a generous and good-hearted guy Jeff is.
It doesn’t tell you much about Jeff’s music, which is on a par with his spirit. He’s been the go-to harmonica player in Idaho and Wyoming for years. But about a year ago, Jeff was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, and he hasn’t performed for a while.
Fortunately for everyone who likes great music and great harmonica playing, Jeff’s sometime collaborator and well-known producer Ben Winship has released a CD containing a fine collection of Jeff’s performances covering the period 1998-2010, including Jeff’s singing as well as his harmonica playing. The CD includes a wide range of roots-oriented music, ranging from covers of The Band’s “The Weight” and Little Walter’s “Dead Presidents” to acoustic pieces like “Fishin’ in the Dark.” The CD can be purchased here, and I recommend it to all harmonica players and fans.