Wade Brown in-memorium
Synonymous with the Maritimes blues, Wade Brown was born in Nova Scotia and already had a reputation for his passionate guitar playing, having already spent some time with The Magic Bubble to start the ’70s when he joined The Dutch Mason Blues Band. At the time Mason was folding the tent on the Dutch Mason Trio project after several years, and forming a new group with a bigger sound. With Brown gaining notoriety as one of the stable forces behind the band’s strength and sound, they scored regular residencies at Dartmouth’s most popular clubs – Sullivan’s Lounge, The Willow Tree, and the Wyse Owl.
The band moved to Toronto in the mid 70s in an effort to become more mainstream and gain a wider appeal. There they would record four albums before the end of the decade with Brown on rhythm guitar. They toured relentlessly during that time, appearing at blues festivals and concerts across North America, where Mason earned the nickname “Prime Minister of the Blues.” But Brown moved back to the east coast before the end of the decade. Still working on again, off again with Mason, he later teamed up with New Brunswick blues sensation Theresa Malenfant, among others.
He would hook up with Mason occasionally during the 80s and 90s, but those who knew Brown said his life began a downward spiral in 1993, when he was sentenced to six months in jail for impaired driving causing bodily harm in an incident that permanently disabled a local teenager. With Mason’s health failing, Brown eventually became his roommate and caretaker, leading up to Mason’s death in their Truro, NS home in 2006.
Considered one of the Maritimes’ most influential guitarists, Brown was a mentor to his peers and younger musicians, but he too had been suffering from poor health for several years, including Crohn’s Disease. For the most part, he retired from touring, with the exceptions of appearing at the annual Dutch Mason Blues festivals and doing one-offs at blues clubs around the Maritimes with other artists from time to time. On Feb. 19, 2010, he was found dead in his Truro apartment at the age of 63.