Music, folk, Florida History, Punta Gorda, Steve Blackwell


This study investigates the life of Steve Blackwell (1947-2006), a Florida folk singer/songwriter from Punta Gorda, FL, located where the Peace River meets the Gulf of Mexico. The study examines his biographical history, his performance career, musical output, and the impact he and his music had on the surrounding community. The first part of the study documents Blackwell's history and the major events that shaped his life while, at the same time, describing what kind of person Steve Blackwell was. The second part of the study examines Blackwell's career as a musical performer, the bands he played with, how those bands came to be or changed over time, what types of music they performed, and any albums he recorded. The third part of the paper looks at Blackwell as a songwriter. How Blackwell decided on his lyrical topics, his musical style, and compositional process are discussed. The final part of the study examines the impact of Blackwell and his music. Consideration is given to Steve Blackwell's closest social networks, as well as to the social implications he, his music, and his networking had on his local community. Research for this study was done through immersion mixed with a close study of Steve Blackwell's personal documents. A number of personal interviews and correspondences were conducted with Steve Blackwell's family, friends, former band members, and a number of other unrelated patrons. Primary sources for this study include a number of Blackwell's own documents, such as his letters, journal entries, sketches, working copies of songs, and recording sessions, etc., which were made available with the gracious permission of the Blackwell family. Few secondary sources were found, save for a few magazine and newspaper articles. After these materials were gathered, a portrait of Steve Blackwell emerged. Evidence was found that supports the idea that Steve Blackwell's music was not stylistically unique, although competently made and enjoyed by a wide audience. Nevertheless, he was special for the community by what he was able to accomplish through his music and extroverted personality. This is not a definitive summation of Steve Blackwell's life, but rather a starting point for any further research on Blackwell or any research in the significance of local musicians for social communities.


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Graduation Date



Warfield, Scott


Master of Arts (M.A.)


College of Arts and Humanities



Degree Program









Release Date

May 2010

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)

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