Roots rocker Chris Gaffney dies

Musician played with Hacienda Brothers, Dave Alvin

Roots rock musician Chris Gaffney died April 17 in in Newport Beach, Calif., of liver cancer. He was 57.

A solo artist as well as a member of the Hacienda Brothers and Dave Alvin’s band, Gaffney started recording in the late 1980s, fusing elements of Mexican border music, American soul and Bakersfield honky-tonk country. Over the last nine years, he balanced recording and touring with his band the Cold Facts and as a part of Alvin’s band, the Guilty Men. He played guitar and accordion in both acts; in the 1990s, he balanced recording and performing with a job in a Newport Beach boatyard.

His most recent project, the Hacienda Brothers, was a collaboration with Dave Gonzalez, the guitarist, singer, and songwriter of the Paladins. The two began playing together in 2002 and was based in Tucson, Ariz. Songwriter Dan Penn produced their debut album; their fourth CD, “Arizona Motel,” is scheduled for release June 24.

Born in Vienna, Austria, he grew up in Cypress, Calif., and was a competitive runner at Western High School in Anaheim and also a Golden Gloves boxer. Like Alvin, many of his early songs concerned life in the Southern California towns and hour or two away from Los Angeles.

He is survived by his wife Julie; a daughter; two brothers and a sister.

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