Kirby leaves Edmonton music scene a better place

Kirby GigCity EdmontonThe final story Kirby wrote for GigCity was an obituary on Doug Jenson. You can add “journalist” to the long list of things Kirby was good at.

She did it because I asked her to, because she was the first person I thought of who would be able write a fitting tribute to such a beloved Edmonton musician from her own generation. In her recent fight with cancer, I was also hoping to give my old friend something productive to do, to take her mind off her disease.

Kirby came through all right, as she always did when she said she was going to do something. In a moving piece, she wrote that Jenson “made the Edmonton music scene a better place.”

These are exactly the words to describe this multi-talented woman who made such an impact on so many musicians and music people in Edmonton for so long, all the way back to the 1960s. She was a straight talker who knew her music, the music business, called bullshit whenever she saw it and made a solid friend in almost every person she ever met, whether through artist management, concert promotion, talent booking, running sound or any other of her musical pursuits. She loved music, she lived it, and she stuck around, too, proudly Edmontonian to the end – and now she’s gone. Kirby died on Sept. 30 from kidney failure and complications from cancer.

She refused to accept payment for her assignment, saying it was a “personal” thing. I sent her one last message a couple of weeks ago: “I’m sending you the fucking money!” She read it, didn’t reply, but I hope she laughed. If there’s a Kirby Music Foundation in the works, and that’s a no-brainer, it’s a small start.