Tonight I was talking with my wife at dinner, and Judson Kilpatrick’s name popped into my mind. I have no idea why.
When I was the editor and publisher of Mixer, a monthly DJ/club culture magazine that ran from 1996 to 2003, Judson regularly contributed music reviews.
I pulled out my phone to look him up, only to learn that Justin had passed away on May 25, 2019. He was 55.
Needless to say I was shocked and saddened by the news.
While I hadn’t spoken with Judson in more than a decade, I am compelled to share my experience working with him.
Long before writers became “brands” and shilled for influence on social media, Judson was cranking out music reviews for scores of music magazines like Mixer. He did so during his downtime – nights, weekends, lunch breaks – while working a corporate job.
While Justin was contributing to much larger magazines with proper editorial budgets, I don’t think he ever asked to be paid for his work in all of the time he wrote for me.
Judson labored over albums for the purest reason of all: he was obsessed with music, and he wanted to share his opinion with you.
Tonight I pulled out a few copies of Mixer, and sure enough each issue was packed with Judson’s insightful reviews.
In his review of Nikka Costa’s 2001 debut, Everybody Got Their Something, he quite rightly opined that the album “has something for almost everybody, but today’s music scene is so fragmented, she may end up reaching hardly anybody.”
Knowledgable about hip-hop to house, Justin put albums from K.Hand to Mad Professor through their paces with no-nonsense precision, offering readers sound advice on their music-purchasing decisions.
Judson is survived by his wife, Beverley Kilpatrick, and daughter, Courtney Kilpatrick, as well as by his parents, Jeremy and Carlene Kilpatrick, of Athens, GA, and brother, Bart Kilpatrick, of Portland, OR.
My sincere condolences to his family on their loss.