West Virginia bluegrass musician and songwriter Mike Blackburn died at his home on October 8. He was 58 years of age, and had been dealing with health problems this past few years.
Mike had performed with a number of groups in the state, including Russell Brothers Boogie Grass Band, who toured professionally for some time. He was a staple at bluegrass events near his home in Tornado, WV, and always among the first to help out a friend or fellow picker in need. Just last year, Blackburn donated a vintage D-18 to be auctioned to benefit Ernie Thacker near the end of his life, a detail that he had kept quiet at the time.
It is as a songwriter that his bluegrass legacy will be longest remembered. Mike wrote the song Looking For Yourself, recorded by Lonesome River Band, and It’s Over, cut by Larry Stephenson. Both songs had been previously recorded by Jim & Valerie Gabehart, who were friends with Blackburn.
A celebration of life service was held for family and friends on October 20. Condolences can be shared with Mike’s family through the Casdorph and Curry Funeral Home.
R.I.P., Mike Blackburn.