Last week, the Denver music scene lost a legendary figure when Terry Dalton passed away at the young age of 59. The renowned singer-songwriter and open-mike host died at his home on Friday, March 23. Dalton will be fondly remembered for his "humor and his razor sharp wit," says his longtime friend and singing parter Bob Turner, who joined him on stage last Tuesday evening at Meade Street station for what ended up being Dalton's last performance.
Turner and Bob Laughlin are helping organize a wake this Sunday, April 1, from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. at 3 Kings Tavern. The informal gathering will include audio and video clips featuring Dalton as well as two-song tributes from many of the innumerable musicians whose lives he's touched over the years -- undoubtedly among them, his nephew, Railbenders' frontman Jim Dalton, with whom the elder Dalton perhaps had the most profound impact.
"Next to my parents, he is the main reason I became a musician," wrote the younger Dalton in a recent note posted on Linda Storey's website. "He's an amazing guitarist, singer, and songwriter. Since I was a kid, I have always looked up to him and admired my cool uncle who always traveled with a guitar. I still often think back to my childhood when he was in a country band called the Dalton Gang. Because he lived far away at the time, I never got the chance to hear them. But I knew they had to be one of the greatest bands in the world because my Uncle was playing guitar. Now I'm in a country band. Is that a coincidence? No. I was lucky enough to hear him sing and play at family gatherings. He exposed me to so much important music at an early age. Without his influence, I'm certain I would not be a musician and songwriter today."
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
The elder Dalton moved to the Mile High City in the mid-�70s after a couple tours in Vietnam and "played in almost every bar in town," Turner recalls. "He was an institution in Denver." Dalton managed Acoustic Music Revival beginning at that store's original location on Evans and Broadway and continuing for around a decade before eventually turning over reins to Turner, when his health began to falter in the late �90s, after being diagnosed with MS -- something he refused to let slow him down.
"He did not accept help graciously," Turner remembers. "He'd be dragged kicking and screaming into reality. But he'd fight it. I think it's that fight-it spirit that kept him alive this long.
"There was no stopping Terry," Turner goes on. "He was going to go out with his boots on. He prefered to go out in a blaze rather than dwindle. And there were lots of us around to make sure he did just that; we made sure he maintained his quality of life. And he enriched ours as well -- you can take that to the bank."
For more information regarding the wake, please reach out to Turner or Laughlin at 303-744-1737. -- Dave Herrera