On May 18, 2003, Bobby "Blue" Bland appeared on Mountain Stage in Huntington, W.Va. Daniel Lanois, Tracy Nelson and singer-songwriter Will Hoge were on the bill that night, as well. When news of Bland's passing broke, Hoge was one of many who took to social media to pay tribute. He was also kind enough to share a few more words with us about the impact Bland had on his career.
"Sharing the stage and singing with Bobby 'Blue' Bland was a highlight of my life," Hoge says. "He was my living link to the generation of blues music and musicians that changed my life. It's said that great singers interpret songs — I'd say Bobby inhabited the songs. Truth be told, to me, Bobby did even more than that. The songs were in him. They were a part of him that he had to get out. You felt every emotion. You believed what he was singing and why he was singing it. He was truly one of the greats. One of the masters. Godspeed, Bobby 'Blue' Bland — see you 'Farther on up the Road.'"