Blues Guitarist Smokin' Joe Kubek Dead at 58

Posted by Michael Mueller on October 12, 2015 at 1:08 PM

Blues guitarist Smokin' Joe Kubek passed away over the weekend. He reportedly suffered a heart attack prior to his show at the Pleasure Island Seafood & Blues Festival in North Carolina. Kubek was just 58 years old.

Born in Pennsylvania but raised in the Dallas, Texas, area, Kubek was a mainstay on the Dallas blues scene. Steeped strongly in the Texas blues, Kubek played with Freddie King as a young man, then with Al "TNT" Braggs, and later became good friends with Stevie Ray Vaughan. Kubek released 18 albums over the course of his 25-year solo career, recording for several top blues labels, including Bullseye (Rounder), Blind Pig, and Alligator. His latest release, Fat Man's Shine Parlor, with longtime musical partner B'nois King, came out this past February on Blind Pig.

We are proud to have six blues guitar video lessons from Kubek here at, pulled from his instructional book/DVD Smokin' Blues Guitar, which our colleague Dave Rubin helped to put together.

"He was a contemporary Texas guitar legend who backed Freddie King, played with consummate taste and devastating power, and was a credit to the blues in every way possible," says Rubin of his friend. "A big bear of a man with a gentle demeanor and Southwestern charm belying his appearance, he was also witty and humble. Close friends with Stevie Ray Vaughan, he once told me, 'It kind of reminded me of that movie Amadeus where the guy says about Mozart that he has been touched by the hand of God. Every time I see that movie I feel like I'm the guy who wants to be real good and Stevie is Mozart.' May they both be jamming again."


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