The US National Endowment for the Arts has announced that legendary reso-guitarist Mike Auldridge and virtuosic multi-istrumentalist Andy Statman are among the 2012 recipients of a National Heritage Fellowship. This award is meant to recognize a lifetime achievement in folk and traditional arts with a one-time endowment of $25,000.
Auldridge made his name as a DC-area bluegrass player, but exploded onto the scene as a member of the 1970s super-group Seldom Scene. No current slide player fails to note his overwhelming influence on everyone who studies the instrument, and is widely regarded as having invented modern Dobro music. Though he still takes private students, Mike is largely retired at this point.
Statman was part of the wild string band scene in the northeastern US during the same period that Auldridge was with the Scene. He had developed a unique voice on the mandolin, with a tone and crazed improvisational sense that made him stand out on any recording or performance. He was found on albums by other mostly-New York based artists like Tony Trischka, Russ Barenberg and others. Andy later developed a passion for Klezmer music, which he plays brilliantly on both mandolin and clarinet.
The official presentation of these awards will take place in Washington on October 4, where each of the nine recipients will perform or present their art.
Other fellows include Paul & Darlene Bergren, Harold A. Burnham, Albert B. Head, Leonardo “Flaco” Jiménez, Lynne Yoshiko Nakasone, Molly Neptune Parker, and The Paschall Brothers.
More details and audio samples from all the fellows can be found on the NEA site.
Congratulations one and all!