We are saddened to note that Butch Baldassari, mandolinist, business owner and bluegrass entrepreneur, passed away earlier today (1/10) in Nashville.
Butch had fought a long and hard battle with a pernicious brain cancer, by all reports remaining upbeat and in good spirits to the end. His impact on our music has been longstanding, and ongoing up to the point that his cancer took him from us.
For most bluegrass fans, Butch first appeared on the scene in 1985 as a member of Weary Hearts, a band which also included fellow future luminaries Ron Block, Chris Jones and Mike Bub. He had a tenure with Lonesome Standard Time before launching the Nashville Mandolin Ensemble to recreate the music of the classic mandolin orchestras in 1991.
Baldassari also founded a record label, Sound Art Recordings, which specialized in mando-centric music. His discography lists 14 titles under his name and dozens where he is featured as a performer or producer.
Butch also has a number of instructional books and DVDs to his credit, but the most lingering legacy among his many friends in the bluegrass business will be his dry sense of humor and dedication to musical excellence.
Butch leaves his wife, Sinclair, and a son, Blake.
We will have more information about arrangements when they are announced.