John Sipe passes

We have learned that celebrated luthier John Sipe passed away on September 4 at his home in Charlotte, NC. He was 81 years old and had been battling cancer.

In addition to a worldwide reputation as a violin builder, Sipe was a lifelong bluegrass musician and bandleader. His Charlotte-based group, Roustabouts, were active for roughly 40 years.

One of the former members, Roger Martin, shared a long list of notable south/central North Carolina pickers who have done time in Sipe’s band.

“Numerous well known and not so well known musicians performed with the Roustabouts through the years, including:

Wayne Billings, Tommy Faile, Ken Poovey, Dwight Moody, Lee Ward, Jimmy Lee Bowen, Jerry Furr, Harry Dunn, Dean Marsh, Wayne Bridges, Phil Keyes, Don Starnes, Mike Mcguire, C.E. Ward, Terry Baucom, Ben Greene, Kevin Baucom, Sandra Baucom, Darin Aldridge, Steve Block, Herb Thomas, Frank Poindexter, Jim Whitley, Little John McMillian, Joel Hiatt, Pete Corum, Arnold Clayton, Joe Tucker, Eddie Biggerstaff,  Bob Ford, Don Murrey, Terry Griggs.

I’m sure I’ve left out a few, and apologize if I did.

John was a great violin maker, and his instruments are all over the world, being played by the some of the finest concert violinists. He will be missed around the Charlotte area.”

An obituary is published on the John Sipe Violinmaker web site.

Share this:

About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.