Duane Jarvis, who for more than a decade personified Nashville's roots music scene, died of colon cancer in Los Angeles yesterday at age 51. D.J., as he was known, was a successful and respected singer, songwriter and guitarist who worked with the likes of Dwight Yoakam, John Prine, Rosie Flores, Frank Black and Lucinda Williams (he co-wrote "Still I Long For Your Kiss," which appeared on Williams' Car Wheels on a Gravel Road), in addition to recording several solo albums.
I had the pleasure of playing with D.J. on a couple of occasions, and was always taken with how selfless and humble he was. He relished being the ace sideman--allowing others to shine in the spotlight while he accompanied in a thoroughly rocking yet understated style that became his trademark--and enjoyed working with up-and-coming artists, as he did in the early days of Dave Coleman and the Coal Men. During his stay in Nashville, from 1994 till just a few years ago, he seemed omnipresent, regularly gracing the stages of 12th & Porter, the Radio Cafe, the Bluebird or the Exit/In for Billy Block's Western Beat show. Like Kenny Vaughan, he played so many shows people suspected he'd cloned himself.
For a lot more about D.J.'s life and times, check out Peter Cooper's piece in The Tennessean, which does a great job outlining Jarvis' life and times, not to mention his contributions to the birth of Nashville's Americana scene.