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Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 2005)

01 Oct 05 - 09:29 PM (#1573783)
Subject: Obit: Sean Blackburn
From: Judge Mental

I heard today that cowboy and western swing singer Sean Blackburn died of a heart attack this week at age 56.

He was known for his recording and peforming duos with Dakota Dave Hull and Liz Masterson.

01 Oct 05 - 10:35 PM (#1573814)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn
From: GUEST,Art Thieme

That's terribly sad. To see a series of four photos of Sean, go to my folk scene photos site at

In these photos he is on stage at a festival while the mikes are being moved around for the next act. A very small dog walked out across the stage and Sean always had his rope with him to do twirling and roping tricks. Without missing a beat, he decided to rope that "little doggie", wrestle it down, and hogtie it! I was walking past the front of the stage when all this went down, so I snapped these 4 (I think) photos of Sean Blackburn.

He is going to be missed by many of us!

Art Thieme

01 Oct 05 - 10:51 PM (#1573829)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn
From: Bobert


I know, knew, Sean from Blues/Swing Week at Davis and Elkins.... Hard to believe... He was always thin and cool, with his waxed-'stash and all that...

A real bummer....

I still can't believe it....


01 Oct 05 - 11:27 PM (#1573849)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn
From: katlaughing

Those photos of Art's are on Page 16 in his album of People. Those are quite something...wish I'd known Blackburn. Sad to think he is gone, now.


01 Oct 05 - 11:35 PM (#1573856)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn
From: GUEST,Auggie

Saw him with Dakota Dave Hull in Madison, Wis way back in the 70's. They played quite an eclectic set of songs at that time. On my best day I don't have half the stage presence he had.

01 Oct 05 - 11:46 PM (#1573866)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn
From: Arkie

This is sad news. Its been a few years since Sean and Liz have been to Mountain View.   We brought them here because of a recommendation by Patsy Montana. We invited them back because we loved them. Sean was a fine musician and entertainer and will be missed by many.

02 Oct 05 - 01:09 AM (#1573888)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn
From: katlaughing

Here is a link to their website. I REALLY wish I'd known about him, now. Sounds as though Rog and I would enjoy their music, very much.

02 Oct 05 - 02:43 PM (#1574181)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: Rex

Mark and I saw Sean and Liz when were all performing in Cody this Spring. This comes as a shock to us. Another fine performer gone all too soon. Garrison Keillor did a nice modification of Tom Paxton's Ramblin' Boy for Sean on a Prairie Home Companion yesterday. I heard it on the car radio on the way back from a show. He had some nice things to say about he and Liz as well. If you get a chance, catch the program. There will be a memorial for Sean across the street from the Denver Folklore Center in Denver.
This is a small concert venue that Harry set up. Liz and Sean were scheduled for a performance there. Now it will be a memorial. October 15. More info should be forthcoming on the above website.
Sean was a fine cowboy singer. Could do it all. Singing, yodeling, a fine moustache and rope tricks. What more could you ask for? Fairwell cowboy, we'll all meet again at the grand roundup.


02 Oct 05 - 04:52 PM (#1574261)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: Hollowfox

@#$%^&*. Helluva nice guy.

04 Oct 05 - 07:05 AM (#1575330)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: GUEST,Jay Peterson

In case you have not heard yet, Sean Blackburn died Thursday in Golden, Colorado while driving to work. He apparently had a heart attack or a stroke and drove his car off the road, coming to rest in a field. A memorial is planned for him Sat. Oct. 15 at Swallow Hill Music in Denver. Pop Wagner and Dave Hull are coming from Mpls. to play, and I'm flying in from my home in Maine.
Plans are almost firmed up for another memorial in Minneapolis in late Oct. at the The Cedar Cultural Centre, 612-338-2674.
This has been a year of wrenchingly painful goodbyes, first Jane, my former wife and singing partner, who fasted to death in the Mexican desert, then Steve Alarik, Artistic Director of The Coffeehouse Extempore in Mpls. from 1977-1985, dead of a heart attack this past June, and now Sean. Jane and Steve were 59, Sean was 56. Before that it was Dave Ray and Dave Van Ronk. Nuff said...

This continent is so goddamn huge, and I'm out here at the eastern end of The Tour, and it's hard to be so far away from old friends at times like these.

Sean and I go back to 1965, in Anoka, Minnesota, where we each grew up. Sean was the second of nine kids, all more handsome and charismatic that should be allowed by any natural law.
He introduced me to almost everything I consider worthwhile in music, and if I hadn't met him, I probably would be doing something completely different now. He was probably my primary mentor, and I'll miss him like crazy. The music he and Dakota Dave did for the years they were together holds up today like a shining star that only grows brighter with time. Amid a murky din of what passes for Folk Music these days, what they did together leaves today's whiny, self absorbed, naval-inspectors in the dust. Part Woody Guthrie, part Louis Armstrong, they busted their butts in countless Squat-n-Gobbles from LaRonge to LaCrosse to serve up a musical stew that hadn't been tasted for thirty years, and hasn't been since. They may have had only regional "success" , but in the hearts and memories of many of us in the American and Canadian Midwest, their contributions and their startling creativity remains a beacon. Sure, Merle Haggard, Asleep At The Wheel and Willie Nelson were the big guns who helped rescue Western Swing from the grave, but Sean and Dave were, in my life, even more profound. They brought it directly into the listening rooms, the colleges and the coffeehouses and folk festivals, where the music grew new legs and danced again, after decades of purgatory.
I met Liz Masterson at the Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, NV in the winter of either '86 or '87. We became fast friends. Sean had just recently left Mpls. for Chicago, but I knew he had his sights on The West. I guess I had something to do with introducing those two, maybe I was their Cupid, I don't know...
Sean and Liz had some fabulous chemistry. The combination of Sean's formidable stagecraft and doctorate-level command of the music, and Liz's pure-as-a-mountain -stream voice were something to behold. For the second time, Sean made his mark as half of a dynamic duo.
In the last decade of Sean's life, I saw him only occasionally, sometimes at Western and Swing Week at Ashokan, in the Catskills. He went west, I went east, and it became geographically more improbable to get together.
He still wrestled with his demons, he was getting the best of them, but alas now he's been called to be in a Higher Orchestra. It always seemed as though Sean was part of another era, and now he belongs to Eternity. I'll miss him more than I can say.
Adios, amigo. Buena Suerta.

Jay Peterson
Sedgwick, Maine

Condoloences should be sent to
Liz Masterson
4460 Zenobia St.
Denver, CO 80212

04 Oct 05 - 09:26 AM (#1575432)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: GUEST,A Fan

I first heard Sean Blackburn at the Coffee House Apocolypse, with Dakota Dave Hull, at St. Cloud State in 1980... "I Don't want to Set the World on Fire" became a favorite of mine. Just pulled out the LP and gave it a listen!
Julie in Duluth

04 Oct 05 - 01:44 PM (#1575625)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: GUEST,Rex on the road

I talked to Harry Tuft at the Denver Folklore Center and folks at Swallow Hill. The date for the memorial is still Oct. 15. The latest plan was for it to be at the Tuft Theatre at Swallow but all agree more space is needed. Now there is talk about having it at the Cameron Church. But the location is still very much in the air. I'll post a location when I hear they have decided. Sorry about the confusion.


04 Oct 05 - 02:01 PM (#1575648)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: GUEST,Norm Peterson (aka Dirk Normanski)

I heard from Bob Douglas about Sean and have had him wandering through my thoughts for days now. All the sessions on nicollet island, the incredible amount of gifted string players that inhabited the West Bank with Sean one of em'.

Craig Ruble and Skip Mouse and Peter O and Bill N' Judy and Soupy and Papa John and Teska's Easters and the 'cafe and Dakoty and Mike Cass and Cal Hand and the Belleville's and Bob and Pop and Charlie Jirousek and Leo Kotke and Mary Dushane and on and on all packed into that 40 acres of hippiedom and vegetarians and it was pretty swell. I learned a lot living there with all of you and him. Thanks.

Farewell to one of our own. Ask not for whom the bell tolls, indeed it tolls for thee.

Norm <"}}}><

04 Oct 05 - 04:28 PM (#1575804)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: GUEST,Jan Marra

Sad to hear of this wonderful man's passing. Nothing bu a happy memory for me: a voice you couldn't tire of and a way to make you laugh, always. I still have "When You Go" in my head and I'll sing it for Sean.

04 Oct 05 - 05:51 PM (#1575878)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: GUEST,Diane Piros(aka Circus Libby)

When it is our time to go, may we all be so lucky as to pull over in a field. My heart aches...

04 Oct 05 - 06:22 PM (#1575913)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)

Very sad. Sean was a great guy.I will always treasure the 'trick' rope he gave me as well as many fond memories.

04 Oct 05 - 08:58 PM (#1576070)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)

Sean was a terrific guy and I'm so pleased to have happened upon this board. I am one of Sean's many nieces and it makes my heart happy to hear so many wonderful things about him. He will be missed forever for so many many reasons.

04 Oct 05 - 09:52 PM (#1576109)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: GUEST,jan and joan larsen

It was our joy to experience Sean's wonderful humor and singing during the past year, most recently in Loveland, CO. this summer where he performed with Liz. We feel a great loss and are so grateful that we had a chance to be a part of his audience. We'll miss his memorial because we'll be at the Ozark Cowboy Gathering, where performers will undoubtedly honor Sean's memory. Jan and Joan

05 Oct 05 - 10:04 AM (#1576440)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: GUEST,Guest - Oil Patch Desk Jockey

As an Arvada Cowboy Poetry Gathering guest for 15 of the 16 years it has been held, we will sorely miss Sean. His twinkling eyes, unforgetable voice, twinkling eyes, never-ending humor, twinkling eyes, and that darned hat that kept getting in the way of his guitar strap -- all of these memories we will have of the ultimate performer. May he rest in peace and bring beautiful music and laughter to the angels.

05 Oct 05 - 02:58 PM (#1576652)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: GUEST,Bonnie Brock

"Oil Patch Desk Jockey" refers to that hat getting in the way of his guitar strap. One of the funniest routines I ever saw was at the Sunday breakfast for the Cochise Cowboy Poetry & Music Gathering about 3 years ago. I suspected he might do that often. It seemed to take longer to get ready for the song than to do the song. He's wearing his hat and trying to put the guitar strap over his head. He moves the hat around, keeps trying several different ways. The frustration is building. He just doesn't know what to do. Then in desperation he finally gives up and puts the guitar on the floor, makes a circle of the strap/guitar, and steps into it much like a woman would step into a skirt.

Is it any wonder that I remember that routine and not the song he and Liz sang. But I really enjoy their singing too. I have two of their CDs, the double and "Kids at Heart," which Liz recommended. I'm glad she did because I am one and that music is some of the best by both of them.

06 Oct 05 - 10:04 AM (#1576997)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: GUEST,Becky Riemer Thompson

There's many roads you can travel
Sometimes you'll be lonely, sometimes just alone
You could go tar roads or you could go gravel
But the time has come for leaving me behind
Just don't you go off crying and blind.....

I've been singing this song for over 30 years and no one sang Dream and the Dutchman like him.
I'm so thankful to have known him and so sad.


06 Oct 05 - 01:18 PM (#1577239)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: GUEST,melinda m

I've been looking at this listing every day, several times a day, and have tried to post to it many times but never can seem to say it all. I loved Sean and I can't believe he's gone. He and Steve Alarik were two very important, influential people in my life and this has been a terrible year. They each helped me to grow and learn and they each were willing to learn from others. Too soon, too young, too much still to offer.

Sean, it's been a couple years since I've seen you but you have always been dear to me and always will be. Can't say goodbye...

06 Oct 05 - 02:07 PM (#1577276)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: GUEST,Laura

Sean will be missed.

06 Oct 05 - 04:44 PM (#1577424)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: GUEST,Guest, Tom

Here's the latest information from the Swallow Hill website. You can find more info on the site itself at the link below.                

I've worked with Liz and Sean (mostly doing sound) for over 12 years and I will miss him.

Sean Blackburn Tribute Concert
Saturday, October 15 | 8 p.m. | Washington Park Methodist Church

The Swallow Hill community is deeply saddened by the loss of Sean Blackburn. Sean was a singer, songwriter, cowboy poet, comedian, rope trickster and consummate performer. He taught off and on at Swallow Hill and performed throughout the country with his partner, Liz Masterson. We will miss him terribly.

A Tribute Concert will be held at Washington Park Methodist Church (1955 East Arizona, Denver) on Saturday, October 15 at 8 p.m. Performing in this tribute concert are friends from near and far, including Dakota Dave Hull, (from Minneapolis), Jay Peterson (from Bangor, Maine), Pop Wagner (from St. Paul, Minnesota), and more.

07 Oct 05 - 12:01 AM (#1577708)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: GUEST,Bill Johnson

Just heard today of your passing. I'm so very sorry. My thoughts go out to your family. As a fellow guitarist who worked a lot at the Extemp, the Whole, and many other West Bank haunts, at the same time that you were, it was a great pleasure to have known you throughout that time and heard you play. You will be missed!

07 Oct 05 - 11:50 AM (#1578038)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: GUEST,Steve Moscov

Sean will forever be a presence for me and all of the people he charmed and entertained in Western, New York. Imet Sean and his then partner Dave Hull in the late 70's and just three years ago heard them in Rochester, NY at the Strong Museum where he and Liz contributed to their series of American Music. I invited them to perform and give a lecture in a Western Literataure class at the school where I teach and he wowed everyone with his jokes, lariat tricks and extensive knowledge of our Western heritage. He'll be missed by more people than I can count. Partner, "We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when, some sunny day!"

07 Oct 05 - 01:06 PM (#1578109)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: GUEST,Jon

Sean dropped by the America's Soul concert series at the Olde Town Pickin' Parlor a couple of weeks ago to say howdy. Patty Clayton and Nancy Thorwardson had joined me, Ernie Martinez and Butch Hause, and most of us made our way to the Grandview afterwards. Sean and I made plans for him to be my guest at the February show. Whew! It's wonderful to know he touched so many people.

07 Oct 05 - 04:49 PM (#1578262)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: GUEST,Dakota Dave Hull

I just can't believe he's gone. I've known Sean for 35 years and he was always one of my closest friends. We played together for nearly ten years travelling from Boston to San Diego to Vancouver to Montreal and most points in between. We continued to get together whenever we could after we stopped working together. I saw him every year when I'd stop and play in Denver and we always did a few tunes at the end of the night. We played a few times in Minneapolis, too. Sean was at the top of his game in recent years, singing and playing better than ever, and happier than I'd ever known him to be, too. I wish he'd gotten to enjoy that contentment for a few more years. Hell, I wish WE'D gotten to enjoy it, too. God must have needed a crooner up there awfully bad because he took one of our best. I'm gonna miss you, buddy.

08 Oct 05 - 12:48 AM (#1578584)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)

Well, I guess it's kind of fitting for me to post this right after Dakotey. I had a club on the West Bank in the seventies (well, on into the nineties) where Sean and Dave played some, and recreated some. Dakotey could be prickly (Dave if you read this, you know it's nicely meant) but Sean never was. As a person to pass some time and a beer with, he was one of the greatest. Smart, funny and his own self in such a sweet and gentle (usually) way.

Along with his newer stuff, I still have their first two Train on the Island records, and for twenty five years I've known and remembered every word of every song. I take 'em out frequently and, having just heard this morning about Sean's passing, I took 'em out again tonight.

What a waste for him to go so young. Or at all, though I guess we all have to.

(And glad I found this place to say how I feel. Lots of old familiar "faces" here.)

08 Oct 05 - 10:16 AM (#1578782)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: GUEST,Seth Rosen

Sean and I worked together at Augusta Heritage Swing Week for most of the last 15 years. For a number of those years we were room mates. I have so many wonderful memories, musical and otherwise, but I want to share a story that makes me laugh out loud every time I remember it.

We stayed in a college dorm at Augusta and one day signs were posted announcing that the college had exterminators coming the next day to spray. Immediately the dorm full of health-concious, eco-concious folkies put up signs on their doors saying "do not spray this room" or words to that effect.

As I walked down the hall to the room I shared with Sean I was thinking about how silly it was. The college could care less what people who were there for a week thought, they'd spray anyway. When I got to our room I saw that Sean had also put a sign on the door:

"Extra Spray, Please"

I loved that guy and will miss him very much.

--seth rosen

08 Oct 05 - 01:01 PM (#1578893)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: GUEST,sam blackburn

I am out here at zeke and jani littles' place. this is the first time i have seen this and it really helps me understand the width and breadth of my brothers influence. I always assumed i was biased when i spoke of his qualities to others, seems ,now, that so many shared my viewpoint. i came out to denver a week before the others because i could and was compelled to do so. it gave me some time to see the places and talk to some so glad i come the tears again. so sorry i hadn't heard about steve alarik i spent time with him at the extemp, hanging out and repairing plumbing.i will miss him also.....bye for now.

08 Oct 05 - 01:50 PM (#1578945)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: Mike Regenstreif

About 25 years ago, when I was running a small booking agency, Dave & Sean signed with Flying Fish Records and my friend Bruce Kaplan, the head Fish, asked me to work with them. I loved the music that they made together and I did end up representing them for a while. They also came to Montreal to play at the Golem, the folk club I was running in those days.

I didn't see Sean much in the years since. I was in Chicago in late-1986 and was on my way to Holstein's one night with Bruce Kaplan when we ran into Sean walking down the street. That was a great surprise. The other time we hooked up was at a Folk Alliance conference in the '90s when he was there with Liz Masterson.

I was very saddened to get the call last week that he'd passed away.

Mike Regenstreif

09 Oct 05 - 10:49 AM (#1579373)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: Mark Ross

I would hang out with Dakotey & Sean around KC and in MOuntain View Arkansas in the '70's. A sweet man and an great musician . He will be missed.

Mark Ross

09 Oct 05 - 11:50 AM (#1579429)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: GUEST,Niall

09 Oct 05 - 12:00 PM (#1579438)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: GUEST,Niall

Sean was my brother-in law for nearly 35 years. I had no brother , so Sean was the one. It is my good fortune to not only be married To his sister Suzo, but also to have Sean.There were so many good times that I cannot count them all. All I can say is that I never had a bad day With Sean Blackburn . He was absolutely one of a kind. I love him and I will miss him.

09 Oct 05 - 02:46 PM (#1579543)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: GUEST,Scott and Leslie Schomer

My husband and I first heard Sean and Liz at the Arvada Cowboy Poetry. Since then, years ago, we became followers of their great music and super personalities. We live 1/2 mile from where Sean boarded Manito and had the blessing of riding by as Sean was saddling. We had a great ride up North Table Mountain together. Then we dropped by my brother's, Clay Hunter, and Sean finished his ride with him. Clay has done some leather work for Sean, including Sean's guitar strap. They were also good friends.
We will remember Sean as a cowboy with a heart of gold, twinkling eyes, and a spirit that lived every day to its fullest. He was a rootin' tootin' cowboy and loved the western life. Sean had the gift of making anyone he contacted feeling warm and fuzzy after spending time talking with him. We have been listening to his CDs soaking in that smoooth voice and magnificent guitar pickin'.
We love you Sean. Ride a good horse in tall grass. Happy Trails

09 Oct 05 - 03:16 PM (#1579564)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: GUEST,Emily

Missing Sean so much. What an inpiration he was to all of us in Colorado. A wonderful, generous person and always so supportive of others. Loved his rope tricks and humor. And that voice! Sad times for all Sean's family and friends. Rest in peace, dear friend. --Emily Lites

09 Oct 05 - 06:48 PM (#1579706)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: GUEST,Steve Jambeck

I too am deeply saddened by the passing of Sean. But I am happy to have been his friend for nearly 40 years. We met in 1966 at college. I had an old green guitar then and Sean asked me to teach him how to play. He embraced music with great joy, determination and passion. We were roommates a couple times during the hippy days on the West Bank. I played the washtub bass with Sean and Dakota at the Extemp a time or two. I remember a short tune we did where Sean sang..."Girls are nice, but oh what ice-ing comes in Oreos. Oreos, the one I love, are the very best cookies ever was..." He had a great sense of humor. Sean loved a corny joke, a bad pun, a good straight line and silly shtick. He was a class act with a classic delivery that did the old school proud. May his light shine on brightly. Steve Jambeck

09 Oct 05 - 07:10 PM (#1579727)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: GUEST,annie whitney

liz and i met in college, CSU, where we played guitar and sang and became life-long friends. sooooooooooo great when liz and sean got together......... i was privileged to have them come visit and ride with me in cerrillos nm a few times, and blessed to see them perform many many wonderful times!!!!!!!!!   so thankful that we have so many great recordings of sean to remember him forever............ we'll miss you dear sean, see you in Heaven!!!!!!! God Bless each of you...........   lovexoxoxoxoxoxoxoxa

09 Oct 05 - 09:04 PM (#1579786)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: GUEST,Lori Beldo

I first saw Liz and Sean perform at the last western swing dance held at Temple Hill Events Center in the mid 1990's. They won me over as a huge fan. A few years later I started going to their performances locally in Denver and also followed them elsewhere. I was fortunate enough to get to know both Sean and Liz personally and they have always brought a warm smile to my heart. I am the proud possessor of all their CD's. When I drive now between Fort Collins (where I now live) and Denver - one of Sean and Liz's CD's is always in my CD player. The drive goes quickly, the music is awesome and I always arrive with a smile humming Ya Gotta Have a Moustache! Sean was such a talented person --- what a gift to us he was and will always be.

10 Oct 05 - 09:18 PM (#1580613)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: GUEST,Martyne (Sue) Backman

I just learned of Sean's passing through my family in Minneapolis. I met him there in '72, when we played on the same bill for some West Bank gig. He was dashing and funny and picked a heavenly guitar. We were together on and off for 9 years, and said our last goodbye in '82 before I headed West. I still sing some of the songs he taught me, and see him in my dreams from time to time. Sean was a real sweetheart and I'm sad that he's gone. My condolences to all his friends and loved ones.
Happy trails, Mr. B., till we meet again -
Martyne S. (Sue) Backman
Albuquerque, NM

11 Oct 05 - 12:29 AM (#1580726)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: GUEST,mary blair blackburn

I am not as computer savvy as some. So, when Sam called me from Denver, he guided me to this wonderful website. We thank you all, so very much, for your kind words, thoughts, and photos. At such a sad time, it is comforting to know Sean touched so many people in so many ways. Sean had such a calmness about him. He was truly a joy to be around.I loved Sean, as we all did. I will miss him, as we all will. I am looking forward to meeting many of you in Denver......Mary

11 Oct 05 - 02:01 PM (#1581122)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: GUEST,David Scarlett

I married Sean's niece Alyssa, 18 months ago in Germany. After moving to California we decided to get married again so that we could celebrate our marriage with our friends and families. Sean has 5 brothers and 3 sisters (including my mother in law) so I was a little apprehensive about meeting everybody in the Blackburn clan. My wife had told me about her cowboy uncle, so actually meeting Sean in the flesh was a wonderful experience. Sean sat my wife and I down and played a song just for us which was beautiful. In the evening Sean led our families and friends in hours of singing and beautiful guitar playing around the fire. Just in case his singing and guitar playing were not evidence enough of his talent, he also created my bride's beautiful bouquet. My memories of Sean are unfortunately too brief, but are all very happy. The voice, the humor, the guitar playing, the twinkle in his eye, and the best moustache in the world!

11 Oct 05 - 05:59 PM (#1581330)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: GUEST,George Welling

I think it's been 16 years since I met Liz at Augusta. I remember how excited she was when she told me she'd gotten this seasoned professional to record with her. I met Sean exactly one year later, and we've been friends since. I'm grateful to Liz for the energy and enthusiasm that brought their "Cowboy Ricky and Lucy" show into the lives of fans all over the country. I'm also grateful that we have so many recordings of those two great voices applied to the timeless music of the West.

Anyone who saw Sean perform will remember his talent and humor. Folks who hiked or rode with him know his love for the wild, lonely, beautiful places in our country. I'm glad our old dear road-warrior's last trip ended in the lovely field Liz described to me. It's kinda fitting that his last maverick act on this earth was to go thru a fence to get to it.

Over the years we had hung out, played music and drank coffee at music camps, gigs or whenever one of us was in the other's town. I'm a little jealous of you folks who knew Sean so much longer, and got to spend so many more hours with him.

Maybe because we always met on the road, I always cherished our time together, knowing it might be a good while before we saw each other again. Now of course, those hours are even more precious to me.

So long old pal. We'll miss you. - George

12 Oct 05 - 11:45 PM (#1581965)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: Rex

I've been on the road and unable to check emails and such. Nice to see so many here. Sean touched a good many lives. Good memories. Thanks to Tom for setting us all straight on where the tribute concert will be.


13 Oct 05 - 03:02 PM (#1582500)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: GUEST,guest

I'm just a guy who sat in the crowd, listening.
Before Blackburn and Hughes and before Blacburn and Hull, I used to see him solo at the Coffeehouse Extempore'. (From around 72-74?)
I remember that he played well (mostly finger-picking at that time)
and sang so nicely.
Mostly though, I remember him being so spontaneously funny.
I saw him frequently enough that I know his bits were not canned.
He seemed to make up funny stuff on the spot. Introductions were sometimes longer than songs.
I wish I had some tapes from those shows.
I never knew the guy, but he sure seemed like a good soul.
My deepest sympathy to all of you who did know him.

13 Oct 05 - 03:05 PM (#1582505)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: denverette

So sad to read the news about Sean. I got to know him at Swallow Hill where I studied fingerstyle guitar with him for about 2 years. One of the best parts of our lessons were his performances of the songs that I would learn....with a joke and a few words of dubious wisdom thrown in. Always went to see Sean and Liz perform at the Arvada Center Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Sean was multi-talented, as I believe he designed or art-directed all their promo material and CD graphics. Heard lots of stories about Hermanito. Now he is truly a rider in the sky....

14 Oct 05 - 12:14 PM (#1583101)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: GUEST,charlie provenza

Sean was funnier than you , could play guitar better , had a uncanny knack for "show business" and was the best singer I ever played with. This summer we played some very sleepy gigs at a local steak house. He performed like we were on the Tonight show. On our breaks he talked about his horse a lot. He was a giant in the biz and an even better man. He is sorely missed.

14 Oct 05 - 04:19 PM (#1583267)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: GUEST,Andrew Snider

Sean played with my Aunt Liz for almost 20 years and over that time spent many nights with my family sneaking in his exceptionally witty comments and observations, which, always made me laugh. We were so very fortunate to have him at our family gatherings and never took it for granted that there in our living room performing classics and original cowboy music, was one of the best in the world...and he could do rope tricks. Sean left us much too soon, but the memories and legacy he left behind will keep us all smiling. Happy trails Sean!

15 Oct 05 - 10:19 AM (#1583575)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: GUEST,Joyce Everson

I knew Sean from the old Cafe Extemp. days. I sang there quite a bit myself. So sorry to hear about his passing. We all went in different directions back in the 70's. I remember Sean being a kind person and great musician. This a loss, not only for his family, but for all of those souls out there that never had the opportunity to hear his music.
Joyce Everson (Crazy Lady)

17 Oct 05 - 03:24 AM (#1584422)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: GUEST,christina ortega

Like anybody else lucky enough to have known Sean, there are so many great stories to share. He was the king of the dry wit. Once in Denver, a bunch of us were out for dinner at a fancy Italian/opera-singing restaurant. It was a bit fancier than us po' cowboy musicians were used to in the way of dining establishments, but I think it was some special occasion that brought us there. I was sitting next to Sean and we discovered that we were both greatly unimpressed with the food we had ordered. We were a couple of disappointed chumps eating crappy food when Sean muttered to me, "Well, at least it's expensive."

But my lifelong membership in the Liz-and-Sean fan club was sealed one horribly cold, snowy day in Denver. I was moving and absolutely had to be out of my apartment that day but I'd been dreadfully sick with pneumonia and strep throat. A couple of my so-called friends reneged on their offers to help with the move because they were afraid of catching my germs. After schlepping a few boxes down three flights of stairs and outside to my truck, I thought I was going to die. I was so tired I lay on the floor of my apartment and cried. Then, unannounced, Sean and Liz showed up like angels at my door and proceeded to take over. Here were two, full-time, self-employed musicians with gigs later that week, and they were risking their good health to help out a friend in a jam. I didn't even have to ask them. They knew I needed help and they showed up. Helping a friend move is always a pain in the ass, but helping "typhoid Mary" move - in the snow!!! - well, that just beats all, folks.

I like to think that Sean left here the way he would have wanted - quick and easy, like a candle being blown out. The world is a little less bright but I think I spotted a new twinkling star in the night sky tonight.

La paz del Senor sea siempre contigo, mi hermano.

Christina Ortega

18 Oct 05 - 03:20 PM (#1585537)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: GUEST,Dakota Dave Hull

I'm just back from Sean's funeral and memorial concert in Denver. It's so good to know how many wonderful friends Sean had out there. I think we gave him a pretty good sendoff. It was a hard weekend (I only lost it fifty or sixty times) but the concert was great and I think he was floating around in back somewhere taking it all in. We'll be doing another memorial concert, this time in Minneapolis at the Cedar Cultural Center on Thursday, October 27th at 7:00 P.M. Please join us there if you can and celebrate Sean's life.

18 Oct 05 - 06:09 PM (#1585705)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: GUEST,George Welling

I was honored to be with the party that returned Sean's ashes to the earth and sky on South Table mountain where he loved to ride. It was also a priveledge to be able to grieve with so many of the people who knew and loved him. The memorial concert featured tunes and poems written for Sean and some never-before-seen-outside-Wyoming TV footage of Liz and Sean at their finest. I laughed. I cried. I wish I could be with you in Minneapolis. GW

18 Oct 05 - 06:12 PM (#1585708)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)

18 Oct 05 - 11:35 PM (#1585907)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: GUEST,Susan Smentek

"Dream a Little Dream of Me", Sean, I will of you. Goodnight sweet guitar-cowboy. Love, Susan

19 Oct 05 - 10:37 PM (#1586700)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: GUEST,Marv and Kathy Reitz

We are trying to recover from the trip to Denver to honor Sean with his family and friends. Music, including all the old wonderful songs was mixed with tears and laughter, sometimes at the same time--quite tough. We wouldn't have missed it for anything. It was our honor to sing and play at the memorial concert and make the sad trek up Table Mountain, a place we had previously enjoyed on horseback with Sean. "The song has ended, but the melody lingers on ..."

22 Oct 05 - 06:12 PM (#1588614)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: katerose

I saw Sean for many years at Augusta, and can hardly believe I won't see him there again. He was the funniest guy I ever met, but also gentle and kind. So many people will miss you, Sean! I hope there are horses in Heaven.

03 Nov 05 - 03:09 PM (#1596644)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: GUEST,melinda m.

Well, I am still having a hard time believing Sean is really gone. The memorial concert on 10/27 in Minneapolis was truly something special. The array of talent on the stage was stunning; the house was packed; the event went more smoothly than anyone had a right to expect; and it was beautiful. Huge thanks to Pop and Dave and all who helped organize it and contributed their talents. I have seen lots of memorials and benefits but I have never seen one like that before. The only thing wrong was the fact that there were those huge holes - where Sean and Steve and others should have been.

I wonder if Sean knew how many people he touched? Close to 20 years after he moved away from the Twin Cities and it's like it was yesterday, the response was overwhelming. I hope he knew. I hope he's pleased.

04 Nov 05 - 10:51 PM (#1597799)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: GUEST,guest

goodbye friend

08 Nov 05 - 01:13 PM (#1600063)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: GUEST,George Traugott - Blind Moose Revue

Sean was a pal, a mentor, an inspiration. We worked and played together at the 400. He, Peter O and Dakotey were the band for my riverboat wedding celebration 25 years ago.

Sean, the Mooses will miss you, but you'll be there in our hearts and songs forever.

13 Nov 05 - 10:47 PM (#1604247)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: GUEST,Luke Bellville

While I opened up the bookmarks on the computer at home I noticed my sister KT had placed there. Wow I thought - check it out - I listened to some wonderful singing, and now find that all of you have already spoken any words I'd like to say - save that life is truly a strange place and that I think I am confused about it all. I suppose I shall not worry about much anymore, there is too much fun to be had.

14 Nov 05 - 02:57 PM (#1604859)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: GUEST,Nancy Thorwardson

This is Nancy Thorwardson, long-time friend, fan, and cohort of Sean's. What can I say? We are so very lucky to have had him in our lives when we did, even though the ride ended way too soon. His presence is so strong; it just seems like he's going to come around the corner any minute now, and his many bits of wisdom linger in the air. We miss him more than words can say.

At the University where Sean worked, we have created a memorial website to honor and celebrate his life and the many wonderful things about him. Please visit and tell your friends about Please also let us know if you have or know of things to add (there is a "contact" link on the site); we know that our perspective is centered on the last few years, so we do invite you to participate and contribute.

Peace be with all of us and especially our dear pal…

15 Nov 05 - 11:42 AM (#1605545)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: GUEST,Tom Cunningham

I just found out about Sean's passing. I sure will miss him in West Virginia. Swing Week won't be the same without him. He always had a pleasant word for me, and he always impressed me as a performer and joker. I can just see him explaining his decision to drive through a fence so that he could die in a field, instead of on a road.

05 Feb 06 - 05:39 PM (#1662404)
From: GUEST,Warren Hanson

Here in Minneapolis, I recall one night in the 1970's at a backyard party of musicians and other folk, near the Mississipi River, with a full September moon, when during a lull in conversation and jokes around a small backyard bonfire, Sean, standing on the edge of the circle wearing his guitar and hat, broke into "Shine on Harvest Moon" (with the moon directly above his head) and transported us into blissful be-here-now, this-is-perfect existence. I liked his work before, but that night I became a fan of his music and persona and cowboy ways.

29 Sep 06 - 07:24 AM (#1845845)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 05)
From: GUEST,melinda

To Sean's many friends and family members - my thoughts are with you today as I reflect on and celebrate his life. I know he is in all of our hearts. Peace.

26 Feb 07 - 01:28 AM (#1979566)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 2005)
From: GUEST,Bobbi (Barb) Marston

I've been out of the circle for some time and just last week learned of Sean, Steve, Dean, and Jane Kopiska. Man, this bites. I'm thinking somebody must have whacked my chest with a baseball bat when I wasn't looking. Anybody want to chat about old Extemp times and do some mutual grieving, I'm good at crying.
Click here for Bobbi's email It's been 37 years since I met Sean, and I adore him as much yet as that first "Hi!" and smile and hug. I am so thankful to have been in his life and he in mine. What a fortunate once-in-a-lifetime blessing. I've also posted a silly Steve-Goes-Camping story on my website. At the time it happened, Sean got a real kick out of our mutual well-deserved trauma. Of course, it wasn't all that tough to tickle Sean's funny bone and provoke a droll side-splitting one-liner. Click here and again on the music link on the notarynut home page I did a keyword check today and noticed 235 people searched Sean's name in January via just one search engine. Amazing how many of us are in agony over his loss. Steve also has left a huge hole in my heart, yet another 37-year gouge that will never be filled. :-(

04 Jun 07 - 01:47 AM (#2067861)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 2005)
From: GUEST,Rolf - Minneapolis

I just heard the news of Sean Blackburn's death and am so very sorry to hear about this. I remember seeing Sean and Dakota Dave Hull playing in the 70's in Minneapolis and always enjoyed their music together. I recently figured out how to digitize my old albums and copied North by Southwest onto my computer and iPod. It was great to be able to listen to all my old favorites again....and did a search on ebay to see if they had any other albums. I found River of Swing and bought it right away. I copied it tonight and was enjoying the music when I thought I would google Sean and Dave to see if they were still playing together.

...I too feel like I was punched in the stomach tonight to hear the news. I treasure the memories of his music, and always wished I could grow a mustache.

26 Sep 07 - 05:42 PM (#2158042)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 2005)
From: GUEST,Sam Blackburn

Nearly two years have passed and the feeling of loss is still so strong.

13 Dec 07 - 11:30 PM (#2215003)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 2005)

I used to work with Sean at the 400 bar in mpls,what a fun guy. Tought this young guy what smilling was about.                        love steve

20 Jan 08 - 11:51 AM (#2240618)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 2005)
From: GUEST,John Fern

It was only in the past year that I learned of Sean's passing. I was in high school when I first heard some of his radio interviews and performances on a station that was anything but mainstream. Sean was a BIG influence on my own singing and playing, and I learned as many of his songs as I could to entertain my own freinds and family.
Later when he teamed up with Dakota Dave, I got the album "Ace Pickin' and Sweet Harmony," and learned many of those songs that my brother, Joe, and I would sing together attempting the harmony of Sean and Dave.
I had lost that album and many others in a flood some time ago, but Jani was kind enough to send me a copy on CD. Since I'm into the Youtube videos now, I did a version (with Dave's permission) of "The Old Campaigns," and posted it back in September.
I always wanted to do a version of "When You Go," and finally put together a video with that song also. It will soon be up on Youtube, and even though it started out as a cover song, I added some of Sean's audio and video to make it more of a tribute to Sean.
My Youtube user name is johnfern99 if you want to check it out.

12 Feb 08 - 03:45 PM (#2260721)
Subject: John Fern's Production on You Tube

Thank you John - the video was very nice, thank you.

                Luke Bellville

13 Dec 08 - 11:08 AM (#2514299)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 2005)
From: GUEST,melinda

Happy birthday, Sean. We all love you.

21 Mar 09 - 10:24 PM (#2594318)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 2005)
From: GUEST,kate little

i know i never really got around to saying this but i always kinda thought of you as my i dunno godfather i guess would be the word. I seem to have misplaced the tape we always used to listen to raodtrips.. you know the ghost riders in the sky, the song about the mexican maiden, anyway the best substitute i could find was marty robbins gunfighter ballads but it just doesnt cut it. I miss you voice. I miss hearing you wistle i miss eating breakfast with you, black coffee always black coffee. i remember one christmas in there when you sang Oh Holy Night and hushed the crowd, flled the church and made it seem like there was nothing and everything that existed a voice that didnt hesitate to prevail. a genius at his craft. I started playng guitar finally about a year ago andreally took a liking to that epiphone of yours, mom wont let me take it off to college though... figures. but ill find something to play. I love you sean, i dont think i told you that enough so im sayin it now. I love you sean youll always be a part of my family, thanks for a being a great childhood hero.
yours truly

24 Nov 09 - 10:50 PM (#2773108)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 2005)
From: GUEST,dave u

you are one of the very few that i think about now and then. I have some great memories. and i miss you. your friend ...

13 Dec 09 - 12:41 PM (#2787459)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 2005)
From: GUEST,John Fern

Wanted to post another one of Sean's songs from "Ace Pickin' and Sweet Harmony" an album I will never get tired of listening to.
It's a live version from when I was playing at a farmer's market this past fall. It's "Jingle in my Jeans," so check it out if ya want, and I hope you like it.

04 Sep 14 - 11:23 PM (#3657134)
Subject: RE: Obit: Sean Blackburn (Sept 2005)

Oldie but REALLY a GOODIE !!_____Sean and David Hughes on the "Live at The Extemp" album is still stunning and beautiful. I listen to it often. Miss him from my days at the U of Minn in the early seventies....