Local Current Blog

‘True blues man’ Tom Burns, regular on West Bank scene, dies at 67

Tom Burns with his colleagues in the Joel Johnson Band on the cover of their 1995 album 'Turnin' Heads.' (Blue Loon Records)

A year and a half after the death of Tony Glover, fans of the legendary Minneapolis blues scene have bade farewell to another harpist often seen on West Bank stages. The Star Tribune reports that Tom Burns succumbed to lung and heart disease on Nov. 23 at age 67.

“He was a true blues man,” Janet Bergstrom, mother of Burns’s daughter, told the Star Tribune. Active on the scene since the early 1970s, Burns was known for playing harmonica with the Joel Johnson Band in the ’90s and, recently, Mississippi Driftwood.

A family-written obituary notes that Burns “loved living on the Minnesota River in his house boat. Tom had an infectious laugh and was an avid storyteller. A celebration of life for Tom will be planned in 2021 when we can all get together and enjoy music how he would have wanted.”