Blind Willie Johnson had a profound influence on the world of music. Born in 1887, the son of a Texas sharecropper, his father got him a cigar box guitar at the age of 5. The guitar became his lifelong companion. He was blind by the age of 7. Reports differ on the cause. Perhaps, it’s true that his step-mother splashed water with lye in it on his face in a moment of anger. Whatever the cause, Blind Willie Johnson sang Gospel-infused blues, a craft he honed as a street musician and preacher.
Like many black musicians of his day, he didn’t ever make much money, but his legacy lives on in his music.