We got a note this week from Ken Brown, sharing some unfortunate news from Alaska. Ken tells us that Carl Hoffman, affectionately known as the “Father of Alaskan Bluegrass,” suffered a fall on the ice November 29, resulting in a skull fracture with swelling and bleeding of the brain.
A New Jersey native, Hoffman was active in the northeastern bluegrass scene until he made the pilgrimage to the last frontier. Brown fills in a few details from that point forward…
“Carl’s claim to fame as the ‘Father of Alaskan Bluegrass’ came when he moved to Alaska and his Alaskan band was hired to play for workers on the Alaskan Pipeline. During that time period in the early 1970s, Carl’s band may have been the highest paid bluegrass band in the world, as they performed early morning, lunch, and evening sets as the oil pipeline workers were ending or starting their shifts.
Carl has lead bluegrass bands in Fairbanks ever since, most notably his Northern River Band, and he continues to be a beloved mentor to dozens of bluegrass musicians in Alaska.”
A benefit luncheon is schedule for December 13 at the First United Methodist Church in Fairbanks to help raise funds for Carl and his family and their mounting medical expenses. Anyone in the lower 48 who is able to send a donation can direct them to:
First United Methodist Church
915 Second Avenue
Fairbanks, AK 99701
Here’s hoping that Carl is back up and picking real soon.