Joel Burrows (left) with the Minders
  • photo via
  • Joel Burrows (left) with the Minders

Following the report of Portland musician Blake Mackey's death, I have more unfortunate news to report. Today seems to be an unspeakably sad day for Portland music.

Joel Burrows, longtime local musician and fixture of the Portland music scene, has passed away. Burrows performed with many Portland bands and was a talented multi-instrumentalist, playing drums for the Minders and guitar in the Thermals, among his contributions for many other bands. In early 2011, Burrows was struck by a van as he crossed the street and suffered a serious head injury. He spent following months in the ICU and fought valiantly for his life. Burrows made substantial progress and was able to leave the hospital to live in an assisted living facility for people with brain injuries. Back in February of this year, Janet Weiss organized the "Songs for Joel" benefit show at Valentine's—with guests like Britt Daniel, Isaac Brock, Corin Tucker, Laura Veirs, and many other Portland musicians—to provide funds for a necessary wheelchair insert for Burrows. I learned today that Burrows has passed away; he fought bravely for his life for many months and made unforgettable contributions to Portland music. Condolences to his family and friends. He will be dearly missed.