Paul deLay

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Paul deLay
Birth namePaul Joseph deLay
Born(1952-01-31)January 31, 1952
OriginPortland, Oregon, United States
DiedMarch 7, 2007(2007-03-07) (aged 55)
Occupation(s)Musician, singer-songwriter
InstrumentsHarmonica, voice
Years activec. 1970–2007
Associated actsPaul deLay Blues Band

Paul Joseph deLay (January 31, 1952 – March 7, 2007) was an American blues vocalist and harmonicist.

Life and career[edit]

Paul deLay was born in Portland, Oregon, United States.

His musical career started in the early 1970s with a band called "Brown Sugar", which played numerous West Coast gigs. In 1976, he and guitarist Jim Mesi formed the Paul deLay Blues Band, which performed well into the 1980s. The band also recorded several albums during that time.

By the late 1980s, deLay was suffering from alcohol and cocaine addiction. In 1990, he was arrested for drug trafficking, and served a 41-month prison sentence. He performed in Prison in Walla Walla with Michael Morey of Seattle's Alleged Perpetrators on bass. While he was incarcerated, his band continued without him, performing as the "No deLay Band" and featuring longtime Portland blueswoman Linda Hornbuckle as lead vocalist in lieu of deLay.[1] Upon his release from prison, deLay (now clean and sober) rejoined the band and recorded a series of critically acclaimed albums.

In 2002, deLay assembled the final version of his band, with David Vest sharing lead vocals and playing piano, Peter Dammann on guitar, and Jeff Minnick and Dave Kahl on drums and bass. A live CD[2] featuring this lineup was released in 2007, entering the Top Ten on Billboard's national blues chart.

Paul deLay continued touring and recording until his final illness. In March 2007, after returning to Portland from a gig in Klamath Falls, Oregon, deLay felt ill and sought medical treatment. It was discovered that he was suffering from end-stage leukemia; he soon lapsed into a coma from which he would not recover. He died in Portland on March 7, 2007, aged 55.[3]

An outgrowth of the memorial concerts is an annual event, a benefit for a scholarship at Ethos, a non-profit, Portland-based music education program, in deLay's name.

Awards and achievements[edit]

Over his career, deLay received a W.C. Handy Award for best instrumentalist, a recording of the year award from the Portland Music Association, and several awards from the Cascade Blues Association.[4]


  1. ^ "Linda Hornbuckle's home page". Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved January 7, 2015.
  2. ^ "The Last of the Best: Live Recordings by the Paul deLay Band". Retrieved January 7, 2015.
  3. ^ "Obituary - Paul deLay loved blues and baseball". March 8, 2007. Retrieved December 2, 2017.
  4. ^ Krough, D. (March 7, 2007). Portland bluesman Paul deLay dies Archived March 10, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. KGW-TV. Retrieved March 9, 2007.