Thoughts on Butch’s passing…

Butch BaldassariButch Baldassari’s passing yesterday, far too early at the age of 56, has brought out just the mix of sadness and praise that you might expect from his mandolin peers.

He touched the lives of countless mandolinists, from his fellow professional practitioners, to the thousands of students he taught through workshops, books and instructional tapes and DVDs.

“Butch was a very good friend.  Never knew anyone more dedicated to educating and entertaining about, and with a mandolin. I have always been inspired by his work ethic and talent.

Saddens me deeply and just too close to home to talk about now.  Our deepest sympathies to Sinclair, Blake and all of Butch’s family and friends.”

Sam and Lynn Bush
January 10, 2009

Along with the entire acoustic music community, I’m saddened by the news of Butch Baldassari’s untimely passing. Butch was one of the rare individuals who, while adhering strictly to the Monroe doctrine, also had the artistic depth and breadth to embrace many other musical styles wholeheartedly ‚Äî with passion, grace and wit. He was a friend, a colleague and an inspiring presence in our world. Rest in peace, Butch ‚Äî you did a great job.

David “Dawg” Grisman

I hope we can all celebrate the life of a true gentleman, a great mandolinist as well as an awesome teacher. But most of all a dear friend. I had the pleasure of recording, teaching and just hanging out with Butch on many occasions.  The last time we spoke, he talked about the time he asked Don Stiernberg and I to play Monroe’s Evening Prayer Blues with him at Kamp Kaufman, and that the only thing better than two mandolins was three mandolins! I was honored he asked and feel very fortunate to have known him. We’ll continue to keep his family in our prayers.  Rest in peace my friend.

Alan Bibey

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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.

  • Stephanie P. Ledgin

    My husband Ted and I both send our sincerest condolences to all of Butch’s family and friends, our shared music community. Butch was so diversely creative and always had and took the most professional approach to his music and his career. He leaves behind not only an incredible portfolio of music, but a wonderful role model legacy. I wish we lived closer to Nashville to share in what surely will be celebrations of his life and music. But to all, know from New Jersey and around the world, we are feeling his love and his music. Thank you, Butch, for your contributions.
    Stephanie P. Ledgin

  • Sending to the skies, love and prayers, on behalf of those who loved Butch and his wonderful music, especially warm thoughts for his family and closest friends. He was the first to believe in us and and the first to have advertised with us in our early days, and we are a standing today still- as a tribute to his generosity and spirit.

    We love him and believe in his eternal music impression on our lives.

    Gracie and Volunteer Gang at

  • banjoboy95

    My thoughts and prayers go out to Butchs’ family.

  • Maggie McCabe

    So very sorry – Butch …We’ll miss you

    I’m one of many touched by how brilliant Butch Baldassari was as a performer, a teacher and as a person.

    I was one of his student’s at Nashcamp in 2001. He still inspires me today and always will.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you all.


    Maggie McCabe

    Metro Detroit, Michigan