We're sad to share the news that Shirley Lewis, Boston's regal "Queen of the Blues," passed away on Sunday after a battle with cancer. Shirley was a musical mother and mentor to many of us in the Boston Blues community. She had seemingly limitless positive energy and a take-no-prisoners approach onstage that made her a popular draw for decades. She fostered many young musicians' careers, and when it was time to take wing she ungrudgingly let them fly the nest and continued to offer encouragement and support. Shirley recruited me into her band in 1989 when I was just a green 19, when most bands wouldn't take a chance on hiring an inexperienced player. She was also one of the first people to hire the newly formed Rishell & Raines duo back in 1993. Shirley was always giving, always upbeat, and those gifts lift us up even as we mourn her loss. We are so thankful to have known her, to have worked with her, and to know she is at peace. -AR
A memorial service is planned, date TBA