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Ben Eldridge Honored with 2015 Washington Monument Award

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Ben EldridgeDCBU president Randy Barrett presented the 2015 Washington Monument Award to Ben Eldridge, banjo player of the Seldom Scene, during their amazing performance at the DCBU Bluegrass Festival last Friday night, February 27 2015. The award honors his 40 years of bluegrass as a founding and continuing member of the Seldom Scene.

Ben Eldridge was born in Richmond, Virginia. He began playing the guitar at age ten and later in 1954 the banjo. In 1957, he began his studies at the University of Virginia at Charlottesville. Four years later he moved to Adelphi, Maryland. Eldridge became acquainted with Bill Keith and Bill Emerson who were to become two major banjo picking influences in his life.

Eldridge has played on all Seldom Scene albums, and his discography includes 55 albums. Eldridge contributed to solo albums by Mike Auldridge and Phil Rosenthal (who had succeeded John Starling), and he and other members of The Seldom Scene famously backed Linda Ronstadt in a few numbers on her early, more country-flavored albums.+

In June 1970, Eldridge joined "Cliff Waldron and his New Shades of Grass". Eldridge was among five musicians who started playing in the fall of 1971 with mandolinist John Duffey, Dobro player Mike Auldridge, bassist Tom Gray and guitar and lead singer John Starling. They would ultimately be known as The Seldom Scene. By early 1972 they had a weekly gig at Bethesda, Maryland's Red Fox Inn that stretched for six years. Later they moved the weekly performance to Thursday's at the Birchmere in Alexandria, Virginia, just across the Potomac River.

One of the founding members, banjo player Eldridge, has been with The Seldom Scene since its inception, November 2, 1971, and he still performs with the same fire and enthusiasm that characterized the band's early days as a progressive group that took Bluegrass music to new heights. Ben is also well loved for his scat singing on fan favorite, "Lay Down Sally".

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