Deborah Coleman (October 3, 1956 – April 12, 2018)[1] was an American blues musician. Coleman won the Orville Gibson Award for “Best Blues Guitarist, Female” in 2001,[2] and was nominated for a W.C. Handy Blues Music Award nine times.[3]


Coleman was born in Portsmouth, Virginia and raised in a music-loving military family that lived in San Diego, San Francisco, Bremerton, Washington, and the Chicago area. With her father playing piano, two brothers on guitar, and a sister who plays guitar and keyboards, Deborah felt natural with an instrument in her hands, picking up guitar at age 8. She has played at the top music venues such as North Atlantic Blues Festival (2007), Waterfront Blues Festival (2002), the Monterey Jazz Festival (2001), Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival(2000), Sarasota Blues Festival (1999), the San Francisco Blues Festival (1999) and the Fountain Blues Festival (1998).

Coleman’s Blind Pig debut, I Can’t Lose (1997), was an album of ballads and blues stories, and guitar playing and singing. Her version of Billie Holiday‘s “Fine and Mellow” got a lot of airplay on college and public radio stations around the U.S. Soul Be It (2002) included the opener “Brick”, “My Heart Bleeds Blue”, “Don’t Lie to Me,” and a jump blues track, “I Believe”. These were followed by What About Love? (2004) and Stop the Game (2007). Time Bomb (2007) featured three women blues musicians: Coleman, Sue Foley and Roxanne Potvin.[4]

Coleman died on April 12, 2018, from complications brought on by bronchitis and pneumonia.[1]

Selective discography[edit]


Year Title Genre Label
1995 Takin’ a Stand Blues/Rock New Moon
1997 I Can’t Lose Blues-Rock Blind Pig
1998 Where Blue Begins Blues/Rock Blind Pig
2000 Soft Place to Fall Blues/Rock Blind Pig
2001 Livin’ on Love Blues/Rock New Moon
2002 Soul Be It Blues/Rock Blind Pig
2004 What About Love? Blues Telarc
2007 Stop the Game Blues/Rock JSP

Compilation albums[edit]

Year Title Genre Label Notes
2007 Time Bomb Blues Rock Ruf (Idn) with Sue Foley & Roxanne Potvin


  1. Jump up to:a b RIP Deborah Coleman, Making a Scene!, April 13, 2018
  2. Jump up^ “Gibson Guitar Awards: “And the Winner Is …”” 2001-02-21. Archived from the original on 2013-04-06. Retrieved 2016-12-06.
  3. Jump up^ “Archived copy”. Archived from the original on 2007-11-08. Retrieved 2007-12-06.
  4. Jump up^ “Archived copy”. Archived from the original on 2007-06-02. Retrieved 2007-10-08.