The DC Bluegrass Union, which exists to promote bluegrass music in the US capitol region, has announced the winners of their 2022 Mike Auldridge Instrumental Contest. The competition was initiated following Mike’s passing in 2012, and is held each year in his honor.
Aldridge was, of course, a mainstay of Seldom Scene from their founding in 1971 until he stepped away in 1995. The acknowledged master of the slide resophonic guitar stood alongside founding members John Duffey, John Starling, Ben Eldridge, and Tom Gray for 24 years, during which his professionalism, clean and creative dobro playing, and impeccable baritone vocal harmony were hallmarks of the group.
Mike had been a mainstay of the Washington area bluegrass scene for some time prior to the Seldom Scene, performing and recording with acts like Cliff Waldron & The New Shades of Grass, The Country Gentlemen, and others.
He was also a popular studio artist both in DC and Nashville, and eventually on the west coast as well where he added to recordings by Emmylou Harris, James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt, Jonathan Edwards, and Ry Cooder.
DCBU launched this annual competition to fill a void in the bluegrass world, where multiple high profile song contests are held each year, but none specifically for instrumental compositions. Contestants submit recordings of their original tunes, which are then judged by a panel of professional musicians.
The 2022 winners of the Mike Auldridge Instrumental Contest are:
First Place – Goats in a Tree by Chris Roszell of Denver, CO
Second Place – Bent Mountain Blues by Andrew Small of Floyd, VA
Third Place – Mozambique by Tanner Bingaman of Mifflinburg, PA
Honorable mention – Josh’s Bell by Joshua Bell and Lucas White of College Park, MD
Audio recordings of the winning tunes can be accessed from the DCBU website.
Congratulations all, and hats off to DCBU for honoring Mike Aldridge and supporting original instrumental music!