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Statement from NEA on the Passing of National Heritage Fellow Mike Auldridge

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Mike AuldridgeFrom the National Endowment of the Arts: "It is with great sadness that the National Endowment for the Arts acknowledges the passing of 2012 NEA National Heritage Fellow and master Dobro musician Mike Auldridge. Over the course of his celebrated career, Auldridge innovated the use of the Dobro, influencing the development of contemporary bluegrass and country music and paving the way for other Dobro musicians such as Jerry Douglas and Rob Ickes. Auldridge performed as a member of such Maryland groups as the Seldom Scene and also as a solo artist. He recorded with musicians such as Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Patty Loveless, Lyle Lovett, Doc Watson, Ricky Skaggs, Hank Williams, Jr., and Bill Monroe. During the 2012 NEA National Heritage Fellowships Concert in October 2012, Rob Ickes described the influence of Auldridge on the development of the Dobro: 'You can draw a line at Mike Auldridge. The Dobro is played with a metal bar, metal finger picks, and metal strings. There is a lot of room for noise. This guy figured out how to get rid of the noise and just leave the music.' We join many others in the bluegrass community and beyond in mourning the loss of Mike Auldridge while celebrating his life and enormous musical contributions."

Visit the NEA’s website for the full statement, downloadable photo for media purposes, and video of Auldridge performing at the 2012 NEA National Heritage Fellowships Concert:

Mike Auldridge, the legendary dobro player who co-founded the Seldom Scene and later, Chesapeake, passed away the morning of Saturday, December 29 after a long battle with cancer. He was 73. He had been under hospice care until his passing. His expressive talent on the resophonic guitar had no bounds as he played bluegrass, country and even jazz with style and elegance. He performed primarily around his Maryland home but certainly performed across the nation and the globe.

As a founding member of the progressive bluegrass group, the Seldom Scene, his infectous style melded perfectly with the other members making the Scene one of the most easily recognizable artists in bluegrass music. His impact on the music of the Scene as well as others in country and acoustic music was significant.

Many artists today still consider Auldridge the model of the Dobro. Many Dobro artists indlucing Rob Ickes, Phil Leadbetter, Jerry Douglas and others, have helped bring the Dobro into prominance in bluegrass music. Auldridge was certainly one of the pioneers and in good company with the instrument.

You can read our earlier article Dobro Artist Mike Auldridge has Died here.

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