Posted: Jan 1, 2014 11:48 AM
Updated: Jan 1, 2014 6:49 PM
BATON ROUGE - Legendary blues musician Ernest "Tabby" Thomas passed away on New Year's Day according to his son, musician Chris Thomas King.
Thomas was 84.
A singer, piano and guitar player, Tabby specialized in a style of Louisiana blues known as "swamp blues." One of Baton Rouge's best-known blues musicians, he ran Tabby's Blues Box and Heritage Hall in the city until 2004.
"That allowed a lot of young musicians, a lot of amateurs, a lot of people who loved the music and wanted to find a way to get on stage, it gave them a chance and he would let just about anybody get on the bandstand," said King.
On his website, King said his father told him he sang in church choirs before he was bitten by the blues bug in high school.
King hopes to continue his father's Legacy and preserve the Blues in Louisiana by offering guitar lessons to young musicians at Tipitina's Foundation on Government Street.
Thomas' funeral is tentatively planned for next Tuesday.