Death of blues musician Jim Schwall in Arizona – Isthmus

Legendary blues musician and former Madison resident Jim Schwall died June 19 at his home in Tucson, Arizona, where he had lived for several years, at the age of 79.

Schwall was born in Chicago, where he launched a musical career in the mid-1960s with the Siegel-Schwall Band. The group quickly established itself on the blues and rock scenes with national tours and numerous albums before disbanding in 1974 (the group met periodically from 1987). Schwall was a familiar presence in Madison for more than two decades after moving here in 1991, playing music both solo and in bands such as SoDangYang and The Cajun Strangers. He also hosted radio shows on WORT-FM, was often seen as a North Side election worker, and even ran for mayor in 2002. Schwall also worked for many years with Dean Loumos at Housing Initiatives, a non-profit organization that provides housing for people with mental illness who experience homelessness.

Tributes and memories of Schwall continue to pour in in the comments section of a June 20 post reporting his passing on the Siegel-Schwall Band Facebook page, including former Madison bandmates Maggie Weiser and Andy Ewen. Siegel-Schwall Band co-founder Corky Siegel praised Schwall in a press release from Alligator Records, which released two of the band’s reunion albums: “People should know that Jim was a handsome humanitarian and a one-of-a-kind musician.

In June 2015, as Schwall prepared to leave Madison, Bob Jacobson reported on an event Schwall hosted at Harmony Bar for Isthmus’ Snapshot feature, which can be found here.

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