One In A Million Blues Man: Winston R. Hardy 1944-2000

By Jeanette McDonald Westbrook

Having the honor since age sixteen to have known, and knowing that one could never know such a unique and complex man, I write today, on the eve of his funeral, of one of my closest and dearest friends. Winston Hardy - for many who have crossed paths with him in the many and varied endeavors to which he dedicated himself - can be said to have been an enigma. But, please allow me this meager attempt at enlightenment.

Winston often described himself as a good old country boy from Shepherdsville Ky. who somehow got the blues in spite of being born into wealth and what some would call opportunity. It's hard to say how or when the blues becomes part of one's life but, those who fortunately or unfortunately have them, rarely share them with the rest of us. It is Winston's gift of sharing his blues with so many for so many years that endear him to his fans and friends. His laid-out anguish and ironic humor from where ever it originated, was heard in his music, his writing, and in the way he lived his life. Because he flew through life at a pace that few can - or should try to match - many folks may be unaware of the sheer number of causes, concerns and contributions that he made outside of his very prolific musical career. From working on behalf of various unions, including The Louisville Federation of Musicians Local 11-637, The Teamsters, helping found The Kyana Blues Society, supporting and campaigning for the infamous and the common folk, working behind and

up front in the area of Civil Rights, inspiring the minds of the students he taught at the high school and university levels, and just plain helping a known or unknown friend any in way in which he could. Oh, by the way, he had his vices and faults the same as you or me, but somehow it was easy to overlook them, even somewhat expect them, because he was willing to let us see him in his entirety - Winston had no secret life to uncover.

I really wanted to write about all those idiosyncratic, funny, bizarre, serious and curious ways in which Winston made us sometimes cry, laugh 'til we split a gut, peed our pants, wonder where he came from, or where he was going to, but you would have had to have been there, to see and hear from him yourself in order to understand that he was One-In-A-Million-Blues Man.