Mike Auldridge tribute site launched

Rob Ickes has created a new web site to serve as a tribute to the great resonator guitarist Mike Auldridge, who will perform this evening as part of the National Heritage Fellowships Concert in Washington, DC.

Mike is among the 2012 Heritage Fellows to be honored by the National Endowment for the Arts this afternoon, recognized for his lifetime of musical contributions, and as a pioneer in the development of the slide, resonator guitar style now common in bluegrass music.

The Mike Auldridge Tribute Page has been up a scant few days, and is already brimming with laudatory and congratulatory comments from his friends and peers in the music industry.

Here are just a couple; first from Ickes…

“Mike, Congratulations on this well deserved achievement! The first time I heard you play, it literally changed my life. I started playing the Dobro the next day and have kept at it ever since. It has been fun for me to get to hang out with you more this past year, and see how you work, up-close. It has been really inspiring to see how your passion for the instrument has not diminished with the passing of time.

I have also been revisiting many of your solo albums this past year, and the level of artistry you have brought to the instrument is truly stunning, not to mention the wide musical path you have cut. From Bluegrass to Country, Jazz and beyond…With each recording, you have pushed the boundaries of what people thought was possible on the instrument. Thanks for inspiring me, and thousands of others, to take up the Dobro!”

… and from Tim Stafford:

“A real gentleman, and a real innovator in the world of bluegrass. His dobro sound is so different, so smooth and unique, and without him I can’t imagine people like Jerry Douglas and Rob Ickes happening. I’ll always remember the huge tone, that big grin, the pressed jeans… The kickoff to Catfish John on the Country Gentlemen’s Vanguard recording is still one of my all-time favorites of any genre. The high notes on the end of the Scene’s live Muddy Waters.. Wow! Glad I can say I know you Mike; you remain a real hero to me and so many others!”

There are page after page of such remarks, and all are encouraged – pickers and fans alike – to share their own thoughts and feelings in the Mike Auldridge Tribute Page Guest Book.

Tonight’s (10/4) concert will be held at the Lisner Auditorium on the George Washington University campus in DC, and will be streamed live online from the NEA site, beginning at 7:30 p.m. (EDT).

Mike told us yesterday that Rob will be assisting him at the concert, along with fellow 2012 Fellow Andy Statman. A dobro trio with Auldridge, Ickes and Jerry Douglas had been planned, but Jerry is still on the west coast with Alison Krauss.

He also mentioned that Rob will be his voice for the show.

“Rob has agreed to fill in for me vocally. I have a paralyzed vocal cord and can’t speak above a whisper.”

This is a big night for a bluegrass legend. If you miss the concert live, it will be archived at the NEA site for later viewing.

A complete list of the 2012 NEA National Heritage Fellows includes:

  • Mike Auldridge, Dobro Player (Silver Spring, MD)
  • Paul & Darlene Bergren, Dog Sled and Snowshoe Designers and Builders (Minot, ND)
  • Harold A. Burnham, Master Shipwright (Essex, MA)
  • Albert B. Head, Traditional Arts Advocate (Montgomery, AL) 
  • Leonardo “Flaco” Jiménez, Tejano Accordion Player (San Antonio, TX)
  • Lynne Yoshiko Nakasone, Okinawan Dancer (Honolulu, HI)
  • Molly Neptune Parker, Passamaquoddy Basketmaker (Princeton, ME)
  • The Paschall Brothers, Tidewater Gospel Quartet (Chesapeake, VA)
  • Andy Statman, Klezmer Clarinetist, Mandolinist, Composer (Brooklyn, NY)

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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.