The Australian bluegrass community is mourning the loss of Chris Duffy, a lifelong impresario of the music down under, who died earlier this week.
Starting in the 1970s, Duffy was an active performer and recording artist, supporting country acts as an instrumentalist, and as his own in bluegrass. By the 1980s, he was bringing top bluegrass artists from the US over to do live shows, which he continued to do until a motorcycle accident in the mid-1990s put him out of commission during a lengthy recovery process.
Greg McGrath, editor of The Australian Bluegrass Blog, tells us that Duffy’s evangelism for bluegrass (and to a lesser degree, blues) is what he is remembered for back home.
“I think the most significant thing about Chris’s life was his determination to introduce a range of great American musicians to Australian audiences. For that we are forever grateful. He showed us what bluegrass music looked like when it was played live, rather than just on records, which is all we had before Chris took it on the road.
He was also responsible for bringing to Australia people such as Bill Keith, Byron Berline, John Hickman, Dan Crary and Mark O’Connor. Chris toured with them throughout Australia, taking bluegrass music to new audiences, and building up a whole new base of bluegrass music fans.
There are many in the USA who know Chris through his own music, and his many visits to the USA.
He has a string of albums to his name and leaves behind a host of fans, followers, family and friends in mourning.”