By Mirembe Martina
Blues singer, Ann Rabson has died at the age of 67 in her hometown of Fredericksburg.
Rabson succumbed to cancer after fighting with the disease. Known for being involved with Saffire, The Uppity Blues Women, Rabson had been a solo act in recent years. She was also a singer and keyboardist.
Bob Margolin, a friend and collaborator wrote after her death saying, “The blues world is sad to lose one of our bright lights. Ann Rabson passed at home in her sleep after years of quiet strength against deadly affliction. She knew it was coming and lived her life to its fullest. She loved to play blues for people more than anyone I ever knew, anyone!”
Rabson was born in New York City, but raised in Ohio. She got her first guitar at the age of 17 by her father. Talking about her genre of music, Rabson once said, “Blues speaks to me directly. It wasn’t a choice. I was drawn to it naturally, sort of like a sheepdog with sheep.” She performed in Hampton Roads, including a 2003 appearance at Thomas Nelson Community College as part of the Acoustic Blues Revivial festival and a 1999 gig at the now-defunct JM Randalls in Williamsburg.
Producer Bruce Iglauer remembered Rabson as a “delightful, smart, and funny person,” in a statement, saying, “We were blessed to have known her.” Alligator’s Iglauer said of Rabsen, “She was committed to the blues tradition and loved exploring it and leading her listeners on a voyage of discovery. Her music was full of humor, it was full of energy and it was amazingly subtle. Ann’s music always made me smile.”
Rabson continued to perform over the last few years, even recording with Ani DiFranco, and blues legend Pinetop Perkins. Though Saffire disbanded in 2009, Rabson recorded solo material and her last album, “Not Alone,” releasing in 2012.
Rabson is survived by husband, Newman, her father, Gustav Rabson and sister Mimi Rabson, both of Massachussetts, brother Steve Rabson of Fredericksburg and daughter Liz Rabson Schnore and granddaughter Georgia Rabson Schnore, both of Brooklyn.