Dawn Sears A Great Voice Silenced

Dawn Sears.jpg

Submitted by Don Graham

One of the finest voices to grace Nashville and country music has passed away from lung cancer at age 53.

Dawn Sears was a member of Nashville's Grammy-nominated western swing group The Time Jumpers, as well as a background singer in Vince Gill's touring band. Mrs. Sears was battling lung cancer and on November 30, she put on  a benefit concert in Gallatin, Tennessee for cancer research at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. The event was headlined by Reba McEntire.

"Every time I turn around somebody I know has cancer of some kind, and I just got tired of hearing it," Mrs. Sears said last month, "This is my way of fighting back."

Dawn was a longtime member of The Time Jumpers and since 1999, has been seen onstage in Nashville with the group nearly every Monday night of the year, starting with a 13-year residency at The Station Inn, then moving to 3rd &Lindsley in 2012.)." Her  audiences often included  country music notables. Larry Gatlin said he was very impressed  the first time he heard Dawn sing "Sweet Memories," with a voice that was "a cross between Patsy Cline and Barbra Streisand and Sarah Vaughan."

She continued to perform until June of 2014, and was still mesmerizing  the room with renditions of Hank Cochran's "Don't You Ever Get Tired of Hurting Me" and Vern Gosdin's "If You're Gonna Do Me Wrong (Do It Right)."

Sears was born in East Grand Forks, Minnesota. She began her career in 1990 with the album What a Woman Wants to Hear on Warner Bros. Records. The album produced three minor singles. Because of her debut album's poor performance, Sears had decided to leave the country music scene. However, she later received a call from Vince Gill, who had asked her to join his road band as a harmony vocalist.

In addition to singing harmony on Gill's 1993 album I Still Believe in YouSears provided duet vocals on the track "An Out of Control Raging Fire" on Tracy Byrd's 1994 debut album. In 1994, she was signed as the first act on Decca Records' newly revived country music branch. Her second album, 1994's Nothin' But Good, was issued on Decca and its lead-off single, "Runaway Train”, entered the country music charts. Other singles from the album were unsuccessful, and Dawn exited Decca's roster not long afterward. A self-titled album was released independently in 2002. Sears returned to her work as a backup vocalist for Gill. She made appearances on several of Gill's albums, including his 2003 album Next Big Thing.

In February 2012, Sears was diagnosed with lung cancer which was diagnosed as Stage 3B in March 2013.]She died in Gallatin, Tennesseeon December 11, 2014, aged 53. Sears was married to Kenny Sears, a Time Jumpers bandmate, and had a daughter, Tess.