Bill’s five-decade long career as a musician started with a gig at the Tokyo Grand Ole Opry in the early 1960’s. After moving to Minneapolis in 1970 he joined the legendary Minneapolis group The Sorry Muthas and toured with them nationally. He became musical and life partner with Judy Larson in 1972. They helped inaugurate Garrison Keillor’s radio show, A Prairie Home Companion and were featured regularly thereafter. They also toured nationally for decades. After a long engagement they married in 1990. They remained partners in life and music.
December 13, 1948 – September 29, 2005
As many of you know, we lost my old compadre Sean Blackburn in September, 2005. Sean and I worked together for ten years, singing, playing and traveling. He was my brother.
In October we did a big memorial concert for him here in Minneapolis at the Cedar Cultural Center.
It’s still hard to believe that Dave’s gone. He was a huge influence on me both musically and personally. I’ll never forget so many evenings through the years spent sitting down to one of Dave’s legendary meals followed by hours of Vivaldi, Joseph Lamb, Scott Joplin, Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, John Kirby, Duke Ellington, Mississippi John Hurt, Rev. Gary Davis – the list goes on and on. What an experience, always something new, always another surprise. I loved that guy. Thanks for everything, bro.