- Associated Press - Monday, May 23, 2016

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) - Music with solemn, sometimes humorous, words flowed through a packed house at the memorial for musician David Egan held Sunday, May 15 at Warehouse 535 in downtown Lafayette. Egan, a renowned pianist, singer and songwriter, died March 18 following a battle with lung cancer, his second since 2004.

Besides playing music with File’, A Train, Lil Band O’ Gold and his own solo career, Egan wrote songs that have been covered by Joe Cocker, Percy Sledge, Solomon Burke, Etta James, Irma Thomas, Marc Broussard, Marcia Ball and many others.

During the memorial, friends and fellow musicians spoke of Egan as a storyteller, jokester, father and special music talent. Their words were peppered with musical selections that ranged from Maggie Warwick’s country guitar-flavored rendition of “Amazing Grace” to Buddy Flett’s flirty, barroom anthem, “I’ll Play the Blues for You.” Roddie Romero found middle ground with “Keep Me in Your Heart for a While.”

A spotlight remained fixed on Egan’s photo, propped next to his familiar fedora and Yamaha keyboard, which he carried across the globe.

But there were few dry eyes in the house when Egan’s widow, Rhonda, spoke of how the piano player swept her off her feet at the age of 25. A friend invited her to go listen to File’, a band of loud, bearded musicians from Louisiana who played fun music that she had never heard.

Rhonda described Egan as “the tall, handsome piano player, who basically reached through the crowd and took me by the hand.” The 20-minute conversation led to friendship, marriage and a now 15-year-old son named after David’s father, Reuben.

“This peace I felt was all about David, and his complete inability to be anything but authentic,” said Rhonda Egan. “The man was physically incapable of pretension.

“He had flaws, weaknesses and vanities, like the rest of us, but rarely did he try to hide them or deny them. This quality just made me feel comfortable.

“There are many take—me-as-I-am people in this world. But in my experience, not so many of the ‘I’ll take you as you are’ kind.”

Rhonda Egan said that truthfulness about himself and others was the root of his artistry.

“This honesty for who he was, and his compassion for who you might be, was also the secret sauce of his beautiful, undeniably-relatable songwriting. He would write about his hard times, mistakes and jealousies, and also about his loves and triumphs and dreams with the sharpness of a sculptor, carefully chiseling beauty, piece by piece from the stones.

“Authenticity as a man brought him to truth as an artist.”

Rhonda Egan said her husband not only lives on through his music, but their son Reuben.

‘He’s there when you watch the Three Stooges in your underwear, when you eat standing up in the kitchen and when you head to Dwyer’s for fried catfish on Fridays. He’s with you for every gorgeous shot you sink on the basketball court and when you shake a man’s hand and look him in the eye, like he taught you to.

“He’s with you when you stumble and keep on going, when you act with kindness and integrity, when you fall in love and when you play his music for your own children. You are David Egan’s son.”

___

Information from: The Advertiser, https://www.theadvertiser.com

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