Renowned Louisiana songwriter and musician David Egan has died, according to The Daily Advertiser. The Lafayette piano player, who had been diagnosed with lung cancer for a second time, was 61 years old.
Mr. Egan was one of the state's most well-respected songwriters, penning tracks that were performed by Etta James, Solomon Burke, Percy Sledge, Tab Benoit, Irma Thomas, Marcia Ball, Marc Broussard, Joe Cocker and others.
Mr. Egan grew up in Shreveport, but he left Louisiana to attend college at the University of North Texas, where he studied jazz and composition. He later landed in Nashville, where he served as a tour guide while struggling to make ends meet as a songwriter.
But it didn't exactly work out just then, and he returned to Shreveport to join the north Louisiana band A-Train and eventually went out on tour with Jo-El Sonnier. By 1990, he'd settled in Lafayette as part of File, according to a 2006 story by music writer Keith Spera for The Times-Picayune.
Mr. Egan spent the next years building his credentials as a songwriter, and he released his debut album, "Twenty Years of Trouble," in 2003, after quitting File.
He eventually helped form the swamp pop all-star group Lil Band O Gold alongside CC Adcock and Warren Storm, and he released another album, "You Don't Know Your Mind," in 2008.
"David Egan is in the same league as Doc Pomus, Dan Penn, Allen Toussaint and Bobby Charles, among the creme de la creme of R&B songwriters," said Scott Billington, the producer of Thomas' 2006 release "After the Rain" in an interview for The Times-Picayune for which Mr. Egan had penned a trio of tracks. "Each of his songs has something special, a lyrical or harmonic turn that you can't forget. And he's always soulful and deep."
In the months before his death, Mr. Egan granted one last interview to Lafayette's alt-weekly publication, The Independent, for which he formerly contributed columns. In the revealing interview, Mr. Egan spoke candidly about his final days on Earth.
"What I want to do is not make a big secret out of it, you know? But for people to just accept it, know that it's happening, and not feel like they have to rush over here in the next three days," he told writer Walter Pierce. "Know that I'm here and that I feel the circle -- whether I see you or not before I'm gone -- the circle remains unbroken. We're always together. My love is forever. I'll always be."
In the same interview, Mr. Egan mentioned that he was still working on music as much as was possible in his advanced illness. Mr. Egan left about five tracks to Adcock with the hopes that his friend and fellow Lafayette musician would be able to finish them.