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In Memoriam: 'Lackawanna Blues' Composer Bill Sims Jr.


Pictured: Bill Sims Jr.

Photo by Benedict Evans.

Creator Ruben-Santiago Hudson dedicates his autobiographical play Lackawanna Blues to the memory of Bill Sims Jr.

L-R: Ruben Santiago-Hudson and Bill Sims Jr. Photo by Benedict Evans.

For over 20 years and dozens of projects, Bill Sims Jr. and I have stood shoulder to shoulder. Whether in cafes, arenas, living rooms, or on Broadway, Bill’s music, spirit, intellect, and passion saturated everything he touched. His music has been the bedrock, the foundation, the warm blanket that engulfed everything we’ve done. Every note Bill played had to be the truth. Everything he wrote was life itself…his life, his story…our lives and history…clearly, profoundly, dignified, and authentic.

Bill loved Lackawanna Blues as much and maybe even more than I did. I once said to him, I don’t know if I could do Lackawanna Blues if you aren’t there. And in his classic Bill Sims Jr. cool he responded, I’ll be there. You might not see me, but I’ll be there.

Watch and listen closely—that soothing touch you feel…that warm embrace…Bill and Nanny spreading some love our way.

Well Done.

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