Mike Auldridge Tribute Concert, Birchmere

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Mike Auldridge’s elegant musicianship forever changed the sound of the Dobro in American roots music. With the Seldom Scene, Chesapeake and others, he starred on hundreds of Birchmere evenings, and his death on Dec. 28, 2012 marked the passing of one of the DC area’s greatest creators, most influential players, and most cherished friends.

Some of Auldridge’s own cherished friends will gather Wednesday, Feb. 12
at The Birchmere for a night one more unforgettable night of Mike
Auldridge music. Jerry Douglas, Emmylou Harris, David Bromberg, Rob
Ickes, John Starling, Tom Gray, The Seldom Scene and other greats will
sing and play songs and praises.

“One well-placed note from Mike could transform a primitive folk ballad
into a modern piece of music full of hope for the future,” says Douglas,
who completed a one-of-a-kind Dobro trio album in 2012 with Auldridge
and Ickes. “He was my hero.”

Prior to Auldridge’s late 1960s ascent into the progressive bluegrass
spotlight, the Dobro was often heard as a clattering, tough-to-tune and
unwieldy collision of wood and steel. Building on the work of his own
heroes, including Uncle Josh Graves, Auldridge found a refined and
nuanced new voice for the instrument. That voice fit perfectly into the
Seldom Scene, a band that brought a progressive sophistication to
bluegrass and that has been a centerpiece of the Washington acoustic
music scene since the band’s founding in 1971. The Scene was The
Birchmere’s house band, playing each week and delivering an expansive,
urbane brand of bluegrass that drew raves from musicians and fans and,
perhaps most remarkably, bi-partisan support from politicians.

Auldridge also released a string of highly influential solo albums,
beginning with 1972’s thrilling “Dobro,” an album that redefined the
instrument, meshing bluegrass, swing, pop, jazz and other forms.
“It
was clear: Mike Auldridge had set a new standard for tone on the Dobro,”
said Rob Ickes in 2007, when he presented Auldridge with the
International Bluegrass Music Association’s Distinguished Achievement
Award. “To this day, that tone is the holy grail of contemporary
resophonic guitar players.”

Soon, Auldridge was playing Dobro on albums for others, both in and out
of bluegrass, including Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Lowell George,
Vassar Clements, and Tony Rice. He would go on to record with many, many
more, and to tour with Harris, Lyle Lovett, Darren Beachley and others.
He exited the Scene in the mid-1990s, working with Chesapeake and
maintaining a regular area presence as a performer, session player and
teacher. In 2012, he received an NEA National Heritage Fellowship award
for his contributions to the nation’s traditional arts.

The Feb. 12 show won’t be a somber affair. It will be a reunion of
Mike’s friends and admirers (they are one and the same), an exploration
of his musical brilliance and import and a landmark live concert: A
once-in-a-lifetime event, celebrating the remarkable lifetime of Mike
Auldridge.

Confirmed for the show are: Jerry Douglas, Emmylou Harris, David
Bromberg, John Starling, Tom Gray, The Seldom Scene, Rob Ickes, Sally
Van Meter, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, Mike Munford, Rickie
Simpkins, Moondi Klein, T. Michael Coleman, Jimmy Gaudreau, Eric Brace,
Peter Cooper, and Darren Beachley.

Tickets are ___, available at www.birchmere.com

__________________

Howard Parker

hlpdobro "at" gmail.com

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