We are saddened to learn from Dick Spotswood that centenarian banjo picker Wade Mainer is in failing health, and has been returned home into hospice care after a brief hospitalization.
Dick shared that Mainer’s wife Julia suspects that Wade has only a few days left among us.
Mainer was a seminal figure in the early pre-bluegrass days, and is often in the discussion when precursors of the now dominant Earl Scruggs banjo style are considered. He toured with his group, The Sons Of The Mountaineers up into the 1950s, and thereafter as a Gospel performer.
Spotswood’s 2010 book, Banjo on the Mountain – Wade Mainer’s First Hundred Years, does an able job of chronicling this important chapter in American string band music.