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Bozeman pays tribute to beloved downtown musician Elisha Mann on news of his passing

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Posted at 6:24 PM, Mar 29, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-30 12:32:42-04

BOZEMAN — A musician known for brightening the streets of downtown Bozeman, picking his guitar, has passed away.

“Every time I’d walk downtown, there would be Elisha playing the guitar and singing and it always brought a smile to my face,” said Olivia Davis who has lived in Bozeman for almost 2 years.

 She says she feels lucky to have gotten to hear 69-year-old Elisha Mann playing the blues on one of his many guitars.

“I never really interacted with him a whole lot but just knowing he was there brought a lot of light and energy to the town,” said Davis.

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Davis is just one of many who has been touched by Elisha’s music.

“I used to walk down to the Co-Op for lunch and I’d always see Elisha on the corner in front of Schnee’s and we’d always wave and sometimes he’d stop playing and we’d chat for a bit,” said Tyler James who works at Music Villa off Main Street.

James met Elisha in 2003 and says he was always kind to his fellow musicians.

“Elisha was a very special person,” said James. “He loved everybody, he loved music, he was gracious and one of those guys who would go out of his way to make the local musicians feel good about what they were doing.”

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Bozeman musician Tyler James reflects on the life and music of Elisha Mann.

On March 21, James received the news that Elisha had passed away, his battle with cancer now over.

“I was very emotional about it,” said James. “I just can’t believe I’ll never see him again.”

Many people have mentioned on social media that the streets of downtown Bozeman won’t be the same without him.
“I think people are really gonna miss him,” said James.

But he’ll surely never be forgotten.

“Music brings a community together and without hearing that music it’s definitely gonna feel a little lonely for a while,” said Davis.

Below is an email sent to MTN from Elisha Mann's Wife:

Thank you so much for running the story about Elisha Mann and his music downtown. It means so very much to us, his family and friends. We are holding a celebration of life for him on Saturday April 8th at 2:00 p.m. at the Bozeman Senior Center at 807 North Tracy Ave. Bozeman Montana 59715...All are welcome. We hope that you could add this announcement to your story. Thank you Jolee for doing the story. Elisha had mentioned to me that he had spoken to you from time to time downtown. We are so thankful for all of the community support.. it is such a blessing at such a hard time. I noticed the videos that were aired were from YouTube. A couple of years ago we moved all his music to []. So you will see many videos of Elisha playing downtown including one that was recorded one week before he passed away. He has on his Rumble site over 500 videos because he not only played in this community and beyond at many venues he also self- produced several dozen albums. So pilgrimroad is his channel @ Thank you again so very much. ( His obituary is up @ the Dokken-Nelson site if you would like to read...)
Susan Mann (Elisha's wife of almost 52 years)