RIP guitarist Bruce Adamson of Crown Jewels, StagX

Bruce Adamson in the sweet zone with The Crown Jewels at Dora Keogh in May, 2013. -Gary 17

Bruce Adamson in the sweet zone with The Crown Jewels at Dora Keogh in May, 2013. -Gary 17


The former spouse of Rock/Pop guitarist Bruce Adamson announced today that the one-time member of the former indie Pop band Staggered Crossing and longtime part of jam host combo The Crown Jewels, passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday, December 15.

While a cause of death was not announced it is known earlier this year he had heart surgery, but had told one friend that he was feeling good and “back in the groove” according to a comment on his Facebook timeline.

The news shocked many musicians in the TO music community, several of whom posted tributes about his playing and affable nature and recalled having him perform with them at jams and other shows in past few years.

Adamson joined StagX (as Staggered Crossing was often also known) in 1997, a year after it was formed, and “brought a vigour and tenacity to the guitar that band had never seen before” said group leader Julian Taylor in a posting on Facebook.

Bruce Adamson with Staggered Crossing 2009 -Gary 17

Bruce Adamson with Staggered Crossing 2009 -Gary 17

Although he left the band to study and graduate in law and also pursued music publishing, Adamson did reunite with the group for occasional special shows and also continued to feature with a myriad of other players in various configurations.

“He was a brilliant guitarist and one of the best in the world, definitely the best that I had ever seen!” Taylor also wrote, crediting him with helping “propel the band along and get us our record deal” with Warner Music that helped StagX become known across Canada.

(You can hear Bruce playing guitar, including what Taylor describes as “a perfect solo” on this Stag X song on YouTube.)

“We recorded some great songs together and played thousands of stages together. It is hard to believe that that has come to an end. I cherish those moments we had and I cherish the friendship we had. Bruce always believed in me and I him,” he said

On a personal level, Taylor wrote, “he was kind, and accommodating as well as encouraging.

“Any time I ever felt like giving up and honestly that’s been a lot over the past 20 years, he was there to help push me and to tell me that I could do it. That if I kept going that I could do it.”

Like Taylor, many people first heard Bruce play as part of the Jewels, which for years hosted a Sunday jam in the uptown area and has also done features at Dora Keogh on Danforth Ave. as part of Taylor’s Monday night open jam, where he often backed many local songwriters such as Herb Dale, Mike Neil, Harpin’ Norm Lucien and David Storey.

“I will never forget the thrilling ease of his guitar playing. Such a great guy too,” commented poet/songwriter Robert Priest.

Musical Legacies Online Museum 150310Singer and bar booker Shannon Day said, “This is so sad! I’m very sorry for your loss! Bruce was an amazing person, big giant heart, and a fantastic musician. He was always so kind to all!”

“So sad…a great guy, and a gifted guitar player…he will be missed,” wrote songwriter Chris Scian.

Adamson’s former spouse, in announcing his passing noted that “his hot guitar licks, good humour and inteligence will be missed by all who knew him.”

In addition to Reid, Bruce leaves his father, Torrance Adamson and mother Verna, son Robbie and daughter Maggie and an uncle and good friend, Doug Adamson. No information about visitation or funeral arrangements has yet been announced.

-Gary 17,