Les McIntyre passes

We have learned of the recent death of another prominent bluegrass personality, Les McIntyre, who passed away on April 28 from a massive heart attack. He was 69 years old.

Les was a fixture at WAMU in Washington, DC where he did on-air work for the station’s Bluegrass Overnight shows in the 1980s. He has contributed record reviews to Bluegrass Unlimited for many years, and was active up until his death, including being a participant in the 2002 Leadership Bluegrass Class in Nashville.

Like so many folks who work in non-performing sectors of the bluegrass business, Les was a musician as well. He played guitar with the DC-based None Of The Above, where he also sang lead, and is well-remembered by many folks in the DC bluegrass scene.

As we understand it, services will be delayed until May 21, and will be held at the Valley Funeral Home in Erwin, TN.

McIntyre’s is a name that will be familiar to many people in the bluegrass community, even though they never met. He is remembered by his family and friends, to whom we express our condolences.

UPDATE 5/2 – Longtime friend Bill Foster posted a lovely tribute to Les on the DC Bluegrass Union web site. An excerpt…

Les had a deep appreciation for Bluegrass and Classic Country music and was walking encyclopedia of the artists and their careers. He was a often-sought source of such details for album liner notes and trivia contests. His knowledge of the music is surpassed only by such folks as Pete Kuykendall of Bluegrass Unlimited and WSM Host Eddie Stubbs.

I first met Les back in 1974 at an Indian Springs Bluegrass Festival in Maryland, where I was introduced to him by Katy Daley. I was aware of Les and the music as he would occasionally sit in for the hosts on the weekly 10PM to Midnight Bluegrass programs on WAMU Radio. Les and I hit it off and became fast friends, a friendship which lasted until his recent passing. I was a fledgling mandolin picker and Les was playing with the local DC group, None of the Above. Les was a avid record collector and he got me interested and we would often spend weekends scouring the record stores and flea markets from Maryland to West Virginia in search of good finds. Les and I also attended many of the local jams, concerts and festivals. One of our favorite spots was the local bluegrass music club in Virginia called The Birchmere.