Deborah Coleman

10/13/56 – 4/12/18

I found Deborah Coleman by accident, while researching another artist. Immediately I could hear the influence of Hendrix and Muddy Waters, in her clever rendition of Muddy Waters’s “I’m a Man”, which she sang as “I’m a Woman.” I was hooked, her music drew me in, and I had to hear more. While looking for biographical information, I discovered that she had recently passed away in 2018. I had been so moved by her music, that I had begun to develop a sense of connectedness with her. The news of Deborah Coleman’s death took me by surprise. It was not what I expected and certainly not what I was looking for. I knew I had to feature and share the music of this beautiful and gifted talent, Deborah Coleman.

Deborah Coleman grew up in Portsmouth Virginia, in a home full of music. She had three siblings, all of whom either played guitar or piano. She grew up in the sixties and seventies listening to Hendrix, the Stones, Led Zeppelin, and Cream. After attending a concert where Muddy Waters, Howlin’Wolf, and John Lee Hooker appeared, Deborah appreciated the influence of blues in rockn’ roll. Given that and a strong desire to connect with roots of her own, Deborah latched on to blues.

The Dream is an instrumental and really shows her talent as a musician. This video was recorded at a venue in Europe.

Deborah Coleman had an extensive recording career. After winning the Charleston Blues Festival’s national talent contest, Deborah used her winnings to take her career to the next level. She formed her own band called the Thrillseekers, which included Roxanne potvin and Sue Foley. The prize from the talent contest was recording time at a studio, where she and the newly-formed Thrillseekers recorded their first album “Takin’ a Stand”, released in 1995. Her career continued to flourish. She was a nine time nominee for the W.C. Handy Blues Music Award, and in 2001 she was the winner of the Orville Gibson Blues Award. In 2007, she also collaborated with Potvin and Foley on an album called “Timebomb.” An instrumental by the same name appears on the album and features the skills of each, Coleman, Foley, and Potvin. Roxanne Potvin and Sue Foley are two more amazing and accomplished female blues artists.

I feel fortunate to have Deborah Coleman’s music embedded permanently on my favorites playlist. Now, I must crawl out from under the rock I have been living under, and find more precious gems like Deborah Coleman.

By Deborah Miller

I am an avid blues enthusiast and enjoy writing about what I love. My mission is to feature female blues artists and help bring their work to the forefront, in what is typically a male-dominated genre. I hope that my readers learn along with me as research for each artist. I want my readers to know and experience the satisfaction one gets when discovering new music and hope that some are inspired to pick up an instrument. I welcome readers to share their talents so that they too can be featured. I also hope to help further promote the careers of the talented female blues performers that I write about by sharing interesting details about their lives, careers, and the music they create. Deborah Miller