We got a note last night from Chris Jones with a remembrance of his friend and former band mate, Butch Baldassari, prompted by Butch’s untimely passing on Saturday (1/10).
Chris is not only an accomplished bluegrass singer, songwriter and bandleader, but also a popular radio host. His weekday show on Sirius-XM runs from 3:00-9:00 p.m. on Bluegrass Junction (XM 14 and Sirius 65).
Jones will open today’s show (1/13) with a musical tribute to Butch.
“I’d never heard of Butch when he called me out of the blue one day in 1988 and asked me if I was interested in joining a band in the southwest called Weary Hearts. I did, and that band changed the direction of my life and career, and I’d say that’s probably true for the other members at the time, Mike Bub and Ron Block. Butch’s mandolin style and tone helped define the band sound, and it was his business sense and discipline that helped us grow and eventually move to Nashville together.
Butch managed to combine a dedication to the business side of music with a love and understanding of the art of music that’s rare in a single individual. I’ll miss not only Butch’s music, but also his unique perspective and humor. There have been many times since Weary Hearts were together when I’ve thought to myself, ‘what would Butch say in a situation like this?,’ and it’s likely he would have said something insightful and funny. He had very little use for the cliches and standard assumptions of the business, instead creating his own ‘conventional wisdom’ (or maybe ‘Baldo’s Wisdom’), which often enabled him to see things more clearly and pinpoint the heart of the situation.
I feel privileged to have known him and played music with him.”