Memphis blues/soul/gospel artist and pastor Rev John Wilkins has died after an extended bout with COVID-19. He was 76. The sad news was shared via Wilkins' Facebook on Tuesday (10/6): "It is with a heavy heart and great sadness to share that Rev John Wilkins passed away this morning," his family wrote. "He loved God and his family and his congregation whether in church or on tour, and most of all he loved playing music with his daughters to the world. His music carries his love and spirit forward to us all. May he rest in love and power and peace."

From the Memphis Flyer:

Born and raised in Memphis, Wilkins also had deep ties to Mississippi, having served as pastor at Hunter’s Chapel in Como since 1985. By then he had already contributed a lifetime of blues guitar playing, including a stellar performance on O.V. Wright’s “You’re Gonna Make Me Cry.” But more than a dozen years ago, he was moved to return to music, embracing a blend of gospel and blues that won him many fans internationally. (Read The Memphis Flyer’s 2019 overview of Wilkins’ life here). Wilkins came to embrace playing music both sacred and profane, saying, “People got to realize I listen to blues. That ain’t gonna send me to hell — the way I live is what’s gonna send me to hell.”

Rest in peace, Reverend.

Wilkins had just released a new album, Trouble, via Goner Records. You can listen to that below.