The Western entertainment world mourns the loss of Sean Blackburn, musician, singer, historian, producer, and popular entertainer, who died September 29, 2005. Sean Blackburn had recorded many solo albums, and had performed and recorded with Liz Masterson since 1988. Among their many appearances, the two performed at The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, the Autry Museum of Western Heritage, the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, and gatherings and festivals across the country, from Cody's Cowboy Songs and Range Ballads, to Arvada's Colorado Cowboy Poetry Gathering, where they have been instrumental in that gathering's organization.
A Denver Post article about Sean Blackburn by Claire Martin was posted October 9, 2005, with additional web links. The article also appears in the Indianapolis Star, and in other papers.
A web site celebrates the life of Sean Blackburn, with tributes, photos, articles, and more:
Nancy Thorwardson of the University of Colorado sent this information on November 14. 2005:
Greetings friends and colleagues of Sean Blackburn,
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 feel free to post links to www.seanblackburn.com. Please also let us know if you have something to add or know of things we have overlooked (there is
a "contact" link on the site).
Below are earlier postings.
Patty Clayton, who first delivered the sad news, writes, "This is a tremendous loss to so many folks that Sean has touched in one way or another...he will be missed by many."
Yvonne Hollenbeck shared the picture above, taken February, 2005, at the Cochise Cowboy Poetry and Music Gathering in Sierra Vista, Arizona, and the photo below from Sean's appearance at Arvada in January, 2005 as "Ole Svenson":
Photo by Yvonne Hollenbeck
Yvonne says, "Sean was well loved by his fans, the committees, and by all his many friends in the world of western entertainment."
Jeri Dobrowski shared this picture of Sean Blackburn and Baxter Black taken backstage last month at the Western Legends Roundup:
Photo by Jeri L. Dobrowski, obtain permission for reproduction rights
Linda Kirkpatrick shared a photo of Sean Blackburn and Duke Davis on the Western Legends Roundup stage:
Photo by Linda Kirkpatrick
Virginia Bennett wrote:
I've known Sean since the mid 1980's...when I lived in Colorado and was just starting cowboy poetry. Liz and Sean were often in shows where I was also hired, and they also spent time with me not only at the ranch we managed near Silt, Colorado, but also up in Washington state.
I remember he'd answer, years ago, when asked how he was doing, "Not bad, considering my age and my habits." So, I used that in a poem I wrote called "Benediction": "May you always look so good given your age and your habits."
He was a lightning-fast guitar picker, one of the best and could also hammer out a fine tune on the mandolin. I remember sitting up late one night at a jam session in Arvada. Curly, Dave Stamey, Patty Clayton, Liz, Lauralee Northcott, Mike Fleming, Dave Jackson and others were having a fun time trading songs.
Too many memories to count. Can't believe he's gone. He was one of those guys you always thought would be there. He loved his horse and he loved his music. His comedy and timing were beyond compare. He was so loved by his friends. Gosh, I'm sad he's gone.
Patty Clayton sent this information about a Tribute Concert, which was held October 15, 2005:
TRIBUTE TO SEAN BLACKBURN
SATURDAY OCTOBER 15, 2005
Joining Liz Masterson will be Dakota Dave Hull, Jay Peterson, & Pop Wagner
all from Minnesota, Duane Dickinson from Montana, and MANY more friends
from near and far.
WASHINGTON PARK METHODIST CHURCH (FELLOWSHIP HALL..not the
1955 E. ARIZONA
(4 BLOCKS WEST OF UNIVERSITY AVE, BETWEEN RACE AND HIGH ST'S)
DIRECTIONS OR INFO: Call Swallow Hill at 303-777-1003
TICKETS IN ADVANCE ARE $12 (nonmember of Swallow Hill) $10 (member
of Swallow Hill)
TICKETS AT THE DOOR ARE $15 (nonmember) and $12 (member)
**PARKING IS VERY LIMITED...PLEASE TRY TO CAR POOL OR PARK
SEVERAL BLOCKS AWAY AND ENJOY THE WALK TO THE CHURCH**
As many of you know, Liz Masterson and Sean Blackburn were scheduled to
do their Fall Concert at Swallow Hill on Saturday Oct 15, 2005, just one
week from now..and as most of you know now, Sean passed away just one week
Soon after, Liz decided that instead of canceling the concert, she wanted
to keep that date booked and turn it into a Tribute to Sean...and thereby give
as many folks as possible the opportunity to pay tribute to him and come to
celebrate his life and say goodbye. Both Liz and I got busy making contacts
and emailing some of Sean's musical partners from the past, and within about
48 hours, we had dozens of folks wanting to come and participate in the
tribute from MN, Wash. DC, CA, MT, and WY as well as from around CO. The
response was overwhelming, and we thank each and every one of you who
expressed an interest. We finally decided we had to move the tribute from
Swallow Hill as the little theatre they were originally scheduled to perform
in would not hold as many folks as we had learned had wanted to come. The
address of the new venue is listed at the top of this mailing.
It was also decided to retain ticket sales in order to help defray some of
the cost of the travel expenses for some of these friends that are coming from
so far away, and to help with the cost of the larger venue. We encourage anyone
who wants to come to the concert to please do so. After the concert we will
move ourselves over to the Cafe in the basement of Swallow Hill at 71 E
YALE (Yale and Broadway), where we will continue on with more tributes and
music and share laughter and food...until we are all done. Please feel free
to bring any pictures of Sean that you would like to share, we can tape them to
the walls at the fellowship hall, or you can mount them on a piece of poster
board and we can mount the board to the walls, and also feel free to bring
any kind of food to the cafe at Swallow Hill for after the concert. There will
be plenty of parking at Swallow Hill when we arrive back over there.
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