Shuman said after winning a Grammy for the album "Last of the Great Mississippi Bluesman: Live in Dallas" that Townsend, who played at the concert recorded on the album, was the key to his musical success, The Washington Post reported Saturday.
"The award was my way of thanking him for everything he'd given to me. He was one of the greatest unknown bluesmen," Shuman said. "He was never as popular as a Willie Dixon or Muddy Waters or Buddy Guy, but he was at that level. I finally got him some of the recognition he deserved."
Despite recording blues in nine different decades, Townsend never met with the success of many of his more notable peers. Yet Shuman said the blues artist died at the age of 96 in 2006 doing exactly what he loved.
"He was 96 when he went out, doing what he loves to do: He was on his way to a gig," Shuman told the Post. "I felt a sense of peace when he went."