Mississippi blues singer and guitarist T-Model Ford died at his home in Greenville on Tuesday. He died of respiratory failure. Ford claimed to be 93 years old, but according to the Associated Press, he didn’t remember what year he was born, so he may have been 89.
Ford started his music career later than most, picking up the guitar for the first time when he was 58, after his fifth wife left him. He started playing the blues at private parties in western Mississippi.
“He’d play late, then he’d spray himself with a bunch of mosquito spray and sleep in his van,” said friend Roger Stolle.
Throughout his career, Ford recorded seven albums. His first album, Pee-Wee Get My Gun, was released on Fat Possum in 1997.
“His music would take your right back to the heart and soul of the Delta, back in the day,” said Bill Luckett, co-owner of the Ground Zero Blues Club in Greenville. Luckett called Ford “a master of old-school blues.”