25 September 2021

Ken Seaman, 1942-2021

The BIB editor writes:

Thanks to Tony O'Brien for the sad news of the death of Ken Seaman (right) of the Bluegrass Patriots, one of the most distinguished bluegrass bands west of the Mississippi river. Earlier this evening Tony posted the news on Facebook, writing:

Another great bluegrass banjo player, band leader & promoter is gone with the sudden passing of Ken Seaman of The Bluegrass Patriots, Colorado. A much loved band with Irish audiences especially the Athy bluegrass festival. Ken will be a great loss to his family and the Colorado bluegrass community. I have known Ken since 1995 and proud to call him a friend.

RIP Ken and condolances to Mary & all the family.

Tony attached to his Facebook post a video (added today to the Woodbine YouTube channel) of the Patriots at the 2003 Athy festival, singing 'When you and I were young, Maggie', which Tony considers his own favourite song, and the favourite of all the Patriots - and which, I believe, they learned from the singing of Clem O'Brien, seen to the left in the video. The video also shows how Ken's energy kept him moving on stage - stomping on faster numbers.

The photo above was taken in early January 2019, when Ken was one of six musicians honoured with the title of Pioneers of Missouri Bluegrass Music - he was raised in Shannon county, Missouri, and was among the first Scruggs-style banjo players in the Ozarks, following closely behind Doug Dillard. John Lawless wrote on Bluegrass Today: 'No matter where he went, Ken still called the Ozarks home.'

Update 27 Sept.: Thanks again to Tony for the news that an obituary is on Ken's Facebook.

© Richard Hawkins

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