Guest Book

We invite you use this Guest Book to add your tribute or a note of congratulations to Mike.

To post your tribute or note, scroll to the comment box at the end of this page. To read the tributes posted by others, use the links below to go to a specific post, or use the “newer comments>>” and “older comments>>” links at the beginning and end of the comments section to to navigate to the various pages of this guest book.

Tributes featured on this page:
Rob Ickes – Andy Hall – Phil Leadbetter – Stacy Phillips – Cindy Cashdollar
Laurie Lewis – Jimmy Heffernan – Peter Cooper – Sally Van Meter
Lloyd Green – Archie Warnock – Bill Foster – Michael Hall
Terry & Cindy Baucum – Tim Stafford – Colin Henry – Jon Weisberger
Richard Hawkins – Larry Stephenson – Becky Johnson
Gary Mortensen – Howard & Sheryl Parker – Shawn Lane – Wayne Taylor
Bill Emerson – David Bromberg – Russ Hooper – Gary Ferguson
Chuck Hatfield – Thomas Ickes – Dave Williams – T Michael Coleman
Alan Minietta – Pam McLeod (Giegerich) – Gerry Fitzpatrick – Bob Blair
Tut Taylor – Mark Eaton – Jim NunallyRob Armstrong – Steve Gambrell
Mike Marceau – Blues Journal – Robert Geers – Keith Samuels
Steve O’Neill – Willie Payne – Daryl DavisRichie Chiasson – Don, El Dobro
Jennie L. Scott – David Van Allen

Tributes featured on the 2nd page:
Lisa Kay Howard – Lee Hiers – Dave Thier – Liam Rogers – Linda Stewart
Eric Schwartz – Frank Poindexter – Chet Hogue – Bob Dickinson
John Bamberger – Mark van Allen – Troy Brenningmeyer – Jason Stone
Darrell Weaver – Don Fraser – Wally Hughes – Bruce Shaw – Mike List
Claire Lynch – Carl Goldstein – Dave Ross – Tom Stratton – Dale Busby
Pablo Conrad – Bob Dorfman – Sharon Jackson – George Wormington
Mary Chapin Carpenter – Bill Bluestone – Nancy Curry – Aubrey Nelson
Calvin Baber – Tom Gray – Andy Ellis – Tony Dingus – Jon Lohman
Annie Shields – Donald Doggett – Brian Christiano – Hank & Betty Richards
Bob Green – Rhonda Olney – Darrell Roth – Billy Gilbert – Joe Cullison
Greg Greenstein – Ben Surratt – Jayne Alenier – Janet Newsom – Tom Thorpe

Tributes featured on the 3rd page:
Harry Robinson – Dave Devlin – Bill Payne – David Tanner – Mike Nemick
Fred Travers – Curt Baker – Patti Henderson – Larry Shell – Mike Stein
Bill VornDick – David Keith Schoppa – Daniel & Patricia Goins – Pete Wernick
Joe Breeden – Mark Schatz – Dave Dillman – Steve Johnson – Wayne Rice
Alison Brown – Jeani Warish – George Evans Sr – Max George – Roger Erickson
Tim Wint – Paul Beard – Mary Lou Barian – Frank Maxfield – Danny Shaw
Corry Garamszegi – Robert Camacho – Mark Newton – Hugh Mason
Joanie Madden – Kim Ulinger – Tory Viso – Anton Groeneveld
Matthew McCarthy – Charlie Campbell – Niall Toner – Frank Watt
Trapper Wyatt – Marty Muse – RKDeering – Andy Katz
Lee Jones – John Jennings – Loyer ThierryCory Welch – Dale Desmuke

Tributes featured on the 4th page:
Orville Johnson – Mike King – Carl Jackson – Jos van der Lelie – Pieter Groenveld
Kristian Äng – Angelika R. Torrie – Lilly Pavlak – Gary Rue – Dave Alexander
Jeroen Schmohl – Boris Weintraub – Theo Hurter – Joan Bullard – Ben Wooten
Jerry Pitt – Martin Froud – Sandy O’Seay – Jason Burleson – George Bogosian
Mike Saar – Kevin Nell – Rob Harris – Claire Armbruster – Caroline Wright
Hilary West – Tim Finch – Damon Wack – Sharon Driscoll – John French
Rob Anderlik – Gary Pierce – Phil Randall – George E. Clark – Alan Rausch
Debbie Durant – Penny Parsons – Lee Gillespie – Ira Gitlin
Mike Rayburn – Judy Adams – Dudley Connell – Charlie McCoy
Adam Frehm – Jim Brown – Mark Clifton – Jim McClain –Chuck Lettes
Dan Burke – Mark Lackey

Tributes featured on the 5th page:
Lennie Harvey – Bruce Kaplan – Emory Gordy Jr. & Patty Loveless
Kathy Keenan – John C. Cole – Danny Stevenson – David Bias
Patricia Farrar – Lou Wamp – Tom Licari – Katy Daley – Hal Bloom
Tom Thorpe – Janet Peters – J.P. Johnson – Luca Fortugno
Michael Barton – Tut Taylor – Leah Ross – Steve Toth – Missy Raines
Ben Winship – Ted Engle – Billy Cardine – David “Dawg” Grisman
Rory Feek (JOEY+RORY) – Alan W. Tompkins – Paul T. Stanley
George “Keoki” Lake – Bill Nork – Dana ThorinGeoff Stelling
Joe Tho – Chuck Hall – Dan Simpson – Dennis Reamy
Bogue Sandberg – Brad Hansen – Fred Schiffner – Erik Thomas
Tom Schmidt – Y. Hawkins – Alana L. (Habercom) Miller
Jeffrey Anzevino – Brad Bechtel – Artemis BonaDea
Mark Delaney – Eric Fisher – Jim Hurst – Jimmy Ross

Tributes featured on the 6th page:
Dennis Wilson  Bill Richardson – Deloy Oberlin – Kitsy Kuykendall
Dave Ziebarth – Mickey Stinnett – Emily Hogeback – JD Myers
Tim Saylor – Michael Kelley – Tom Adams – Dan Mazer
Roy Thomson – Tom Foote – Carroll & Anita Benoit
Mark Potler – Jeff Agnew – Bud & Anita Graham – Paul Lyttle
Jeff Retherford – B.G. & Mike Munford – Jeanie Ramos – Bob McEvoy
Bill Cobos – Earla Harding – Bob Lay – Mike Patton – Dick DeNeve
Elvis Keene – Bill Holden – Paul Koptak – Fred Bartenstein
Randy Cole – Wayne Weikel – Dave Fox – Jan & Bob Hansen
Valerie Smith – Kim Gardner – Pete Remenyi – Mike Witcher
Peter Radvanyi – Chris Hart – Ivan Rosenberg – Vic White
Joan Bullard – Travis Perry – Celia Millington-Wyckoff – Tim O’Brien
Jana & James Lockaby – Matt Levine

Tributes featured on the 7th page:
Kathy Pantaleo – Dan Tyack – Ben Eldridge – Chuck Crawford
Jimmy Gaudreau – Steven Darnell – Kevin Prater – Roger Ryan
John Pyles – Mike Saunders – Ronna Dansky – Larry Klein
Henrich Novak – Chris Miles – Jim Norman – Greg Cahill
Owen Huckabay – David ColemanJohn Starling
Karen Robinson – Lane Gray – Dan Napolitano
Tom Middleton – Sherwin Kidd – Christy Reid – Dean Eaton
Lou Reid – Yvon Jackson – Buddy Wright – Perrie Allen
Ray Gross – David Moultrup – Art Rogers – Freddie Skeens
Ruth Iseli – The Rounder Folks-Marian, Bill & Ken
Dan Brooks – Eddie Adcock – Dick Beckley – John Senior
Danley Rold – Leigh Hill – Richard Atherton – Robert Crowder
Edward Meisse – Wayne Ashmore – Jerry Douglas
Tim Edes – Eric – Tim Harkleroad

Tributes featured on the 8th page:
Ruthie Young – Jonathan Borah – Jim Palenscar
Sharon Wiggins – Dave Currie – Ed Cirimele – Jack Lawrence
Moondi Klein – Barry Sparks – Andrea Bradstreet – Zan McLeod
Kinney Rorrer – Gene Johnson – Kathy Chiavola – Mike Marshall
Dennis McBride – Richard Hurst – Roland White – Paul Barron

We are sad to note that Mike Auldridge passed away on December 29, 2012, one day before his 74th birthday. To read the tributes posted on December 29 and later, go here (and click the “newer comments” arrrow at the bottom of each page to see additional comments).

468 thoughts on “Guest Book

  1. Rob Ickes says:

    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!

    • Kari Ickes McDonald says:

      Well said Rob. I can attest to Rob and his time spent learning from you. Rob was self taught, practicing daily, I can hear him in the next room right now growing up. Thanks for inspiring him to greatnesss!!
      -Kari Ickes McDonald (Rob’s sister)

    • Tonie Holthaus says:

      Dear Mr. Auldridge, May I say that it is an Honor to be writing in your list of tributes.
      I am Rpb Ickes’ Godmother and was there from his beginning. I remember well the afternoons when I was at Rob’s home when he would come home from school and go straight to his bedroom and pick up his Dobro and start practicing. He was so inspired and impressed with your music that he dedicated his life to his music and Dobro and his beautiful family, of course. Now Rob is inspiring other young people to make music with their Dobros. He loved your music and the sound from your instrument so much that he actually taught himself how to play, but this is not about Rob, it is about you and your music and deep impression you have left on so many lives. A wonderful legacy like yours is rightly recognized by this most prestigious award. Congratulations to you for such a lifetime of beautiful music, yours all those who have followed, and will follow in your footsteps. May your heart be warmed by the knowledge of how many lives you have touched and inspired by your life and your beautiful music…..
      Warm Regards,
      Tonie Holthaus

    • Larry Benham says:

      A real inspiration to all and a ledgend that will be alive forever. Thanks for the thousands of hours of beautiful sounds on the Dobro. I’ll never forget your sweet music.

  2. Andy Hall says:

    Hey Mike,
    I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this National Heritage Fellowship award. Much like Rob, your picking is a huge reason I play the Dobro. The Seldom Scene records, your solo records, the Country Gentleman stuff, I was mesmerized by all of it. And still am! As I mentioned to you recently, I’ve been playing your solo records over and over. They continue to be a source of enjoyment and inspiration for me. There is still nothing that can eclipse 8 String Swing for pushing the boundaries of the instrument.

    Even beyond the Dobro, your style and professionalism are always impressive, and set a great example for any musician. I’m so glad we’re all celebrating your achievements and impact, because they are large indeed! Cheers to you Mike, we wouldn’t be where we are without you.

  3. Mike, I am so proud of you and just so happy to hear about The National Heritage Fellowship Award. I got my first dobro in 1974, but I never really had much interest in it until my brother brought home your solo record on Tacoma. When I heard “Greensleeves”, I was totally hooked. This was followed by every solo record and every Seldom Scene record that I could order from County Sales.. I remember getting the “Live At The Cellar Door” album and trying to pick out your voice when you guys were talking on stage. I had never heard your voice, but somehow it seemed to make our connection a little stronger when I heard you speak. There were days that I’d get hung up listening to one of your solos, and I would skip school so I could stay home and try to learn it. You made me want to play. I just wanted to let you know what an impact you have been on me. You took this instrument and totally stretched it……you brought a lot of people to this instrument. There are very few people in this life that have had the impact that you have had on so many of us. So many that you will never even know that have been hooked because of you. So many you will never meet that were hooked by your trademark style and sound. My life would have been totally different if I hadn’t heard you play. You have always been a huge part of my life ( whether you knew it or not). So proud to call you my friend, and so proud to see you get such a nice award…..I cant think of anyone more deserving than you, Mike !!!

  4. Mike,
    Congratulations on receiving this wonderful award, so well earned. Your contributions are etched in the world of slide guitar and will be attested to many, many times over on this web site.

    From that long ago afternoon at the Watermelon Park Festival, when you graciously showed some dobro moves to an unknown long hair; from Shades of Grass to Seldom Scene and beyond; dobro to pedal steel and beyond, it has been a joy to witness and listen to the evolution and growth of your fabulous playing.

    I look forward to hearing what you’ll come up with next.

    And many thanks for all the grooming tips over the years!

  5. September 30, 2012 at 8:54 pm
    Milke was & remains to be the divining rod in my life. He was a huge influence when I started out on Dobro, & always took the time to talk to me when I was a “newbie” on the bluegrass festival circuit. Then his ground breaking “8 String Swing” album surfaced, & that’s what brought me to eventually playing steel chiropractors all have him to thank as well.

    He broke all the barriers in many forms, & his artistry on the Reso & steel guitar leaves permanent tread marks on the NASCAR tracks of both. Mike’s the link that we all hear in past, present, & future.

    Cindy Cashdollar

  6. Laurie Lewis says:


    I am not a Dobro player, and confess that I have never picked apart your style and tried to understand it, and where it falls in the continuum of resophonic players in history. But what I can tell you is that every time I have heard you on record, no matter with whom, I have thought to myself something along the lines of “Wow. That was perfect.” I have always found your playing to be deeply satisfying to listen to, always tasteful and toneful.

    When I was running the camp, Bluegrass at the Beach, in Manzanita, OR, you were for many years my first call for Dobro instructor. Of course, you were never able to do it for one reason or another, but YOU were the one we all wanted.

    I wish you all the best, and thank you for the richness you have brought to my ears.

  7. Mike,
    Sorry you have to sit still and listen to this but you need to get what’s comin to you.

    You has been profound inspiration to me for most of my life. If ever there was a player who sounded like the Dobro only belonged in his hands and no others, it’s you .
    I’m never able to play the Dobro and not think of how your every note seems to say everything I ever felt, hoped, or even dreamed. Now that’s something to live up to . Thanks a lot !!

    I have been the recipient of many blessings in my musical life quite simply all of them stem from the minute I heard you play the first notes of Tennessee Stud in an apartment in Boston in 1974. I go back to that moment in my mind time and time again and it’s always there just as fresh in my memory as if it happened an hour ago.

    Congratulations Mike, even though you don’t think you deserve it . I want to be just like you when I grow up. I know I’ll never get there but it’s a great view from back here watching you out there in the front .

    Thank you my friend,

    • Jim Heffernan recorded the acoustic steel guitar CD “Resocasters” with Mike Auldridge and Hal Rugg. At ResoSummit, he teaches a popular “Decoding Mike Auldridge” workshop.

  8. Peter Cooper says:

    I met you in the late 1980s when I was a young pup, a high schooler hopped up on a few beers the Birchmere shouldn’t legally have sold me. I tugged your arm and told you I couldn’t understand why people were talking about Jerry Douglas, because you were the greatest dobro player in the world. You looked at me sternly, and said, “You need to LISTEN to Jerry Douglas.”
    That was the first of many lessons you taught me: Musicians aren’t sports teams, there’s no score to keep, and no one has to arm-wrestle about good, better and best. Since then, I’ve taken care not to place my heroes in some kind of hypothetical and unnecessary competition. Free from that competition, we can all go in search of our own unique voice, and if we find it then the world can hear something it hasn’t heard before.
    Your voice is elegant, nuanced, lustrous. It’s somehow silvered and technicolored, at once. And it changed things, as yours was the first modern dobro voice. Your melodic and melancholy work with Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt brought the instrument into the popular conversation, and it appealed to ears that might have (unfortunately, of course) turned deaf to Uncle Josh’s old-school, joyful clatter. Your playing was crucial in the dobro’s rise from acoustic afterthought to popular ubiquity. That instrument ought to kiss your ass every day!
    As a kid watching the Seldom Scene, I sat and stared up at you on so many Birchmere nights. I remember the way the stage lights shone off your resonator, and I remember the creases in your jeans. Most of all, I remember music that seemed heavy enough to press down on my chest, and music that was light enough to uplift. I remember some really bad John Duffey jokes, too, but that’s neither here nor there. I thought nothing could compete with those Seldom Scene experiences of my youth, but there’s where I was wrong again: I felt the same powerful emotions when I was able to go in the studio with you and your friend Lloyd Green. Witnessing two slide masters playing off each other was, for me and everyone else who was there, profound, beautiful and indelible.
    Your National Heritage Fellowship Award is so deserved. I love it when the good guy – the right guy – wins. Oh, and I’ve been listening to Jerry Douglas. And he’s fantastic. And when I tell him that, he says, “You need to LISTEN to Mike Auldridge.”
    I’m so glad for who you are, for what you’ve done, and for how those things are interconnected.

    Peter Cooper

    • Peter Cooper, music columnist for The Tennessean, recorded the album Eric Brace & Peter Cooper: Master Sessions, with Lloyd Green and Mike Auldridge (Red Beet Records, 2010). Mike has described this as “one of my favorite recordings I’ve ever been involved with…mainly because Lloyd Green and I were as prominent as Peter and Eric in the mix. Lloyd has been one of my heroes for over 35 years, and we became great friends while working on that project.”

  9. Mike, This is a special occasion and I am so happy for you as you are honored with the NEA Fellowship award. You single-handedly changed directions for so many players. I remember the first moment I heard your “Dobro” recording on vinyl. I was 17, and my life changed forever. Your unmistakable tone quality, and lyrical phrasing made me hear differently so much that it permanently changed the way I played slide guitar. You employ the Best Rule in Music: Less is indeed More. Over the years, you have been and remain still a good pal, a musical cohort of the best kind, and an inspiration for us all in terms of your gentlemanly and musical attitude toward everything. Add to that, I think I can say for us all that we all have wanted to strive to be the kind of player you are, and your inspired playing convinced us all take leaps and bounds with faith that there was the good and right reason to do so. I for one, took both your first two recordings, and tore them apart to find every nuance, every idea you had, because you inspired me so much back then and to this day continue to do so, because there is still so much to learn, and to experience from your playing. It was a lucky day when my roommate brought home your recording, and played it for me so many years ago. You have taught us all to opt for the best tone, the phrasing, to explore ideas, and have strength in our playing, and for this, I thank you from the literal bottom of my heart to the top. Congratulations on such an honor Mike, you are so well deserving of this.

  10. Lloyd Green says:

    Congratulations to you Mike as a recipient of the most prestigious of awards for a musician, the 2012 NEA National Heritage Fellowship.
    As a session musician for many decades in Nashville, both steel guitar and resophonic, I was literally stunned when I first heard Mike Auldridge play his “new” music on the reso in the early 1970s. He quickly became the first of his instrument to convince me, with his intellectual, articulate, understated and breathtaking music that I merely owned a Dobro, not played one. But I can still outplay him on steel guitar.
    He wrote a tune based on a Don Williams intro I had recorded and asked me to cut it with him. That was a special moment for me. Then a couple of years ago he and I were the Dobro and the steel player on a wonderful album recorded by Eric Brace and Peter Cooper co-featuring Mike and me, ” Master Sessions”. Of the countless albums I’ve recorded over the years this one is in my “top 10”!
    I love Mike’s gentleness, his profound musical talents and and I appreciate his friendship.
    Now, as a fellow professional musician, I must confess, upon initially learning of this most important of all awards, to having to fight the human tendency of envy….until I thought, “Wait a minute, this is, after all, going to Mike Auldridge.” How perfectly appropriate.
    I’m happy for you, my friend, and may your music live a thousand years!

    Lloyd Green

  11. Archie says:

    Congratulations, Mike, on a well-deserved honor. Now the rest of the world knows what we bluegrass fans have known all along – there’s no one who sounds like Mike. The best friend a singer ever could hope for – and someone I’m honored to call a friend.

  12. Bill Foster says:

    Mike. From Emerson and Waldron to the Seldom Scene and beyond, you have made the Washington area music scene a much better place. Thank You

  13. Michael Hall says:

    Thanks for 100 years worth of great music!

  14. Mike,

    We have both been huge fans of yours (both as a person AND dobro player) for many years. From your ground-breaking work with Seldom Scene and Chesapeake to your solo efforts and so much more…we congratulate you on your successes. We are so proud of your latest (huge) honor. It could not go to anyone more deserving!

  15. Tim Stafford says:

    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!

  16. Colin Henry says:

    I just want to say, as one of your far flung fans, how inspirational your playing has been to me. Your place in the history of the dobro and in the pantheon of great musicians is secure.To my great regret I missed you when you came to the Omagh Bluegrass Festival here in Northern Ireland but perhaps through our mutual friend Gary Ferguson we will get a chance to pick together sometime. Well deserved Mike, well deserved.

  17. Jon Weisberger says:

    Congratulations, Mike! I’ve written press releases for several past NEA Heritage Fellows, and learned along the way just how prominent an honor it is – one that is, in your case, richly deserved, if not long overdue. Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to talk, not just with dobro players, but with scores of musicians, and I know from those conversations just how wide your influence has been, and just how deep respect and admiration for your music runs among them. On a personal level, I’m deeply grateful not just for all the great music you’ve given us, but for the generosity and friendship you’ve extended to me. Wishing you all the best…

  18. Mike,

    I’m not a dobro player, but one of your earliest recorded performances remains a milestone in my experience of listening to music. Your breaks on the track ‘Runnin’ south’ (on the second Cliff Waldron and Bill Emerson LP), with their combination of power and feeling in apparently complete relaxation, said to me: ‘Wake up! this is what musical mastery sounds like.’

    At the time, I thought I already had an informed taste in listening to bluegrass; and heaven knows I’d had before, and have had since, plenty of opportunities to learn the same lesson from other master musicians. But it was your playing that brought that revelation, and in the subsequent forty-odd years my listening to all kinds of music has been enriched by it. It would be beyond me to assess all you’ve achieved since then, but at least I can say what you’ve done for me. Congratulations on this latest honour.

  19. Congratulations, Mike! From the first time I got to know you when you played on a Bill Harrell album until just a few years ago when we were working together with the “Seldom Seniors” you were nothing but class and one of the most professional musicians I’ve ever been around! Growing up in the Northern Virginia area and getting to hear you so much…..Emerson & Waldron and all those great days with the Seldom Scene……you are the “MAN” when it comes to the the Dobro. Thank you for your friendship and all you have done for the Dobro and Bluegrass Music! It was always an honor everytime I was around you and your music! All the best to you and your family….

  20. Dear Mike,
    I am not a musician, but I am a devout follower of bluegrass, a Radio Announcer with a weekly live radio show, and one of your many longtime fans. As a published photographer, you’ve always graced my lens, no matter where you performed, whether it was pouring down rain, or in the hot sun, Mike you showed em all what a class act you are. Years ago, @ Winterhawk Bluegrass Festival, I bought your solo record, and listened to it over and over. I loved it. I still do! Let me say how proud of you and proud FOR you I am. May our paths cross again soon. Congratulations, Mike. You make the world [MY world], a better place. to be.

  21. Gary Mortensen says:

    Hi, Mike –
    I was so pleased to learn the that NEA will award you a National Heritage Fellowship! After years of listening to your recordings, I remember the first time I heard you play in person, which confirmed to me that is was possible to make a Dobro sound that beautiful. Your intelligence, musicianship and especially your willingness to share are greatly appreciated. I value every time I’ve been in your company, always hoping that some of your qualities may rub off on me – Thanks for all you’ve done and sincere congratulations!

  22. Howard Parker says:

    Most of my adult life was defined by a single moment in 1973. I was a hi-fi bench technician tuning into a local radio station, checking out a receiver when I happened across music so profound that it literally changed..everything. That was the sound of Mike Auldridge playing his solo to “Keep Me From Blowing Away”.

    In the ensuing years I’ve heard variations of this story from hundreds of players, describing the very moment that they experienced perhaps a single note with THAT tone! Heck, we swear we can tell it’s Mike by the space between the notes.

    The music, however significant, is but a part of the man. We know his heart, his generosity, patience, humor, sense of style and most important I think his willingness, his desire to share everything he knows (as if we could absorb it all). No one I think has invited so many of us into his home and down to the most sacred space of the resonator guitar, the Auldridge basement. In Mikes basement you’d be sitting knee cap to knee cap as Mike would demonstrate everything (“really, I only know four or five things”) and gently prod you with “try it “! No mistake, Mike does most of the playing, almost like a private concert. Somehow, over time you’d absorb and then absorb some more. He was the best teacher. It was like learning rock at the knees of Elvis.

    We celebrate Mike and his stellar body of work. We celebrate Mike for opening his home and his heart to those of us yearning to learn. We celebrate Mike for being Mike and being so damn cool! We love the guy.

    A parting story:

    I was seated with Mike in the audience at the Birchmere. Next to us was a grandmotherly type, a tiny Vietnamese women in her classic dress. She’d be glancing in my direction from time to time and apparently finally mustered the courage to approach our table. In halting English she asks “You Mike Auldridge? I have all your records”.

    Well, of course you do.

    Love to you buddy. See you soon.

    Howard and Sheryl

  23. Shawn Lane says:

    Hey Mike. Congrats on this well deserved honor. I have the same thoughts everytime I hear your playing on any song. The first thought is, Wow! Listen to that tone. I can tell that’s Mike Auldridge. The next one is, He still plays exactly what a song calls for just like he did the very first time I heard him. The thing that means just as much to me though, is how great of a guy you are, and how willing you were to talk to a little kid like me, who loved and still loves your music. You are tops in my book and I’m proud to call you a friend.
    Shawn Lane

  24. Wayne Taylor says:

    I have told Mike many times how The Seldom Scene was the band responsible for me being involved in bluegrass music. I have also told him how his playing captivated me and made me want to hear more and more. Mike is one of those iconic musicians that inspired and influenced more people than will ever know. Even more was the fact that when Blue Highway came together Mike and I became friends and I was allowed to see him as a great person as well as a great musician. Nothing makes me any more proud than to call Mike Auldridge my friend. God bless, see ya soon.

  25. Bill Emerson says:

    Dear Mike,
    My hearty congratulations on your well deserved fellowship award. I knew you were special the first time I heard you. I’ll never forget the good times we had traveling the road, sharing the stage and creating music in the recording studio. Keep playing those “little bells”. No one can do it like you.

  26. Mike Auldridge’s playing changed the course of many musicians lives. I know it changed mine. Mike’s technique on the dobro was a leap from what had been done before, but he’s never flashy. Any one not familiar with the dobro would be sure to appreciate the musicianship, but might not guess the advances in technique that made his style possible. Mike is ALWAYS musical and you don’t need to play dobro or any instrument to appreciate the beauty of his playing. On a personal level, I’ll be grateful all my life for being able to call Mike a friend. His character is as real and strong as his playing.

  27. Russ Hooper says:

    Mike, My Dear friend

    I’m so proud of you and to see you receive this award is truly deserving. You and I go back many years and I still remember meeting you and your brother Dave, at a jam session at George McCeney’s home back in the early 60’s. Congratulations to you for your contributions to the world of Bluegrass music.

    It’s still not time to say “It’s Over”.

  28. Gary says:

    Boy!…where to start?? First thing is that Mike is one of the nicest guys and most gracious you could ever meet…and the most infectious smile. You can’t help but smile back. Always a pleasure to run into Mike. A true pioneer who lives and breathes the music. Not just Dobro and steel. He is an all around musician. Am happy to call him “friend” and way proud to have recorded and played on stage with him. So deserving of his award!

  29. Chuck Hatfield says:

    Mr. Auldridge, You sir are one of the finest Gentleman I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.
    You could never receive all the awards that you deserve in this lifetime.
    It is a privilege to know you and call you friend. You have made a change in my life musically and I could only hope to someday be the Gentleman you are.
    Thanks for all you have done..

  30. Thomas Ickes says:

    Hello Mike.
    Congratulations on your so well deserved 2012 N.E.A., National Heritage Fellowship award.
    You are the inspiration of many resophonic guitar players over so many years. My son Rob first heard your playing on a casette that he bought at a CA Bluegrass Association festival that we attended when he was 13 yrs. old. After listening to the beautiful sounds that you produced on that casette he said. “I think that I will learn to play the Dobro”.
    Thank you so much for your musical and personal influence on Rob over all of these years. Tom Ickes

  31. Dave Williams says:

    Hi Mike,

    Congratulations. Well deserved. You will never know what an inspiration you have been to me. From the time we first crossed paths at a picking party somewhere in DC in the 60’s, it has been a continuing source of amazement and joy for me from listening to your picking. I learned so much from watching and listening to you play. You taught me what style and good taste mean to playing. You always seem to find just the right number of notes that perfectly compliment a song (usually fewer than a lot of other pickers). I’m so glad to have been able to watch and listen to you night after night with Cliff, then with the Scene at the Rabbits Foot, then the Red Fox and then the Birchmere. Your body of work will inspire generations of pickers yet to come. They could have no better source of material to learn from. I know Ed, Rudy, and Uncle Josh are just as happy for you. You have honored them every time you open the case.

    Warmest regards old buddy,
    Dave Williams

  32. T Michael Coleman says:

    Mike to me is more than an outstanding musician, he is a friend. Take away the innovation of his Dobro mastery, his velvet baritone voice, and you have a damn fine man who cares deeply about his friends and family. Our personal relationship means more to me than any stage we’ve shared or any notes we’ve played. That wry, knowing smile and those funny sayings that was all Mike occupy a warm spot in my memory.
    The best I can say is that Mike, in life, and in music always knows where the “1” is.

  33. Alan Minietta says:

    Congratulations Mike.I have been playing the Dobro for 17 years now.I still have several of your recordings on vinyl.You have been a huge inspiration for many reso players including myself.Although we have never met hopefully we will cross paths someday.
    Alan Minietta

  34. Pam McLeod (Giegerich) says:

    I can’t think of anyone more deserving, or whom I’d rather see get this award. You were always the model of taste and technique that my husband, Dave, aspired to. You took an instrument that was relegated to the wings of the stage and gave it a voice, and all our lives are richer for it. I know that you probably won’t even scroll down far enough to see this, because on top of being a monster player and incredibly nice guy, you are also refreshingly modest; constantly learning and perfecting your craft. Just know that we all love and revere you and are thrilled for this public acknowlegement of what we have known all along.

    • Editor's note says:

      I’ll take editor’s liberty to add, here, what Mike Auldridge once wrote about his “wonderful friend Dave Giegerich”: “We met when he became a student of mine about 25 years ago. I was immediately struck, not only by his huge talent, but by his kind spirit and honest, gentle manner. He was a true gentleman in every way, and I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to have been able to teach a few classes with him, first at the Common Ground gathering in Maryland, and then at ResoSummit. We shared a love of the 8 string dobro, steel guitars and swing music, as well as bluegrass. I will miss him.” (12/31/10)

  35. Gerry Fitzpatrick says:

    Mike. Congatulations on your award. So well deserved. I’ve had the pleasure of see you playing “up close” at ResoSummit and you are a lesson in effortless mastery of an instrument. I also had the pleasure of enjoying a very pleasant conservation over lunch with you at ResoSummit a few years back and I learned that you were indeed a true gentleman. Thank you for the inspiration

  36. Bob Blair says:

    Mike, your contribution to the instrument has enriched all of our lives beyond measure. I will always remember your kindness a couple of years ago when Carroll Benoit roped me into performing a couple of tunes for you at the TSGA. Congratulations and thanks for all the music.


  37. Tut Taylor says:

    It’s been pure pleasure knowing you all these many years, Congratulations my friend and maybe we will pick one more. Tut Taylor

  38. Mark Eaton says:

    Mike, I’m so pleased to see you win this honor, in a way it’s one of those things which validates the idea of me taking up the instrument in the mid 1970’s. You are the guy that inspired me to locate my first Dobro, serial #1575 circa 1930 (which I still have). I had taken steel guitar lessons as a kid aged 10-13 but lost interest, and in my early 20’s after listening to you I just had to find a dobro to see if I could make that sound. I’m not a great pro musician like others here, just an enthusiastic weekend warrior, and I was thrilled to death to be able to meet you and take classes from you at Resosummit 2010 (with Jimmy and Cindy’s “team teaching” sessions you were in). I’ll never forget a few years ago in the final evening at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, just after you were given another award for lifetime achievement from the IBMA. You were playing with Emmylou that weekend, and she took a few minutes to pay tribute to you, in her most eloquent way. I know she meant no disrespect to other greats whom preceded you like Brother Oswald and Josh Graves, but she characterized you as being “the first virtuoso of the dobro.” I couldn’t agree more. I remember the first time listening to your second album, “Blues and Bluegrass,” and being knocked out by hearing your version of the huge popular music hit “Killing Me Softly” on side two. You mean, a person can play something besides bluegrass or country on this thing? Wow – how cool is that!

  39. Jim Nunally says:

    Dear Mike,

    This NEA award couldn’t have been bestowed upon a more deserving musician. Congratulations!
    I was 14 when I first heard your music. At just about the very same time I heard Tut Taylor, Norman Blake, and Doc Watson. A friend, who was learning dobro at the time, began lending me his LPs. It was amazing. I became inspired and began learning the instrument because of your beautiful sound.
    Later, as my focus went back to the standard guitar, I was hearing you on many great recordings with Tony Rice and others like Emmylou Harris.
    Then when you recorded “Eight String Swing” it just knocked my socks off. What an amazingly beautiful sound. Simply beautiful. I understand why so many great slide guitarist have been influenced by you. Truly a one of a kind voice on the slide guitar.
    Thank you Mike for the wonderful music you have given to the world. It is a better place because of your music.

    Jim Nunally

  40. Rob Armstrong says:

    Congratulations for your achievements for this and all you have done for us over the years. You’re one of the reasons I started to learn how to play this wonderful instrument. I wore out the LPs I had of yours for years[ they are part of the “Wall of Sound” in the T.I.F.K.A.D. Lounge] and I am still enjoying the music, maybe even more so now. Thanks Mike!

  41. Mike, it’s been a long time since I first shook your hand, and got one of those famous grins in return. You ARE the resonator guitar, as far as I’m concerned, and I think I speak for a lot of us when I say that, without, Mike Auldridge, we’d be banjo players. I also think I speak for a lot of us when I say,” Mike Auldridge is my friend.” Congratulations on yet another honor, so worked for, and so deserved. I still have all the pedal steel stuff you gave me, and still learn from it. One of a kind, is Mike Auldridge.

  42. Mike Marceau says:

    Hello, Mike,
    I first saw the Seldom Scene in 1973 at Montgomery College in Takoma Park. I have been a fan ever since. Your playing was a big part of that. You have influenced countless Dobro players in the past 40 years, and have been recognized by many organizations locally, nationally, and internationally. I hope you appreciate the significance of this honor. It is only given to those who have made major contributions to the arts in America.
    I never had the privilege of being in a band with you, but I was fortunate enough to be able to pick a few tunes with you each year at the Beard Guitar booth at the World of Bluegrass. You were always supportive of my efforts, even when I didn’t know the tune quite as well as I thought I did! Thanks for your patience.
    I’m sure you will enjoy the celebration of your music on Thursday night. I know all your many friends and fans are very excited for you. We hope to hear your unique playing style for many more years to come.

    Mike Marceau
    Bass Player
    DC Bluegrass Union

  43. (The following comments were originally posted on the main page) says:

    Blues Journal
    October 2, 2012 at 3:18 pm
    If anybody is worth this price, You are! Thanks for all your wonderful music through the years.

    Robert Geers
    October 2, 2012 at 3:54 pm
    How can one person be so talented, so accomplished, and such a nice guy all at the same time? The recognition is well deserved.

    Keith Samuels
    October 2, 2012 at 4:07 pm
    Thanks for the inspiration.
    Keith Samuels

  44. Steve says:

    Mr. Auldridge,
    Listening to you is what got me playing resonators about 6 years ago. I am the very proud owner of the last black cherry Mike Auldridge signature that Beard ever made. Your playing is an inspiration to me to keep trying to get better. Congratulations on an extremely deserved award and thanks for getting me to pick up a dobro and start Pickin.

  45. Willie Payne says:

    Congratulations Mike! You’ve been a great influence on me ever since I first heard you playing with the Seldom Scene. Your taste, tone, and touch are impeccable. You have taken the dobro to places it had never been before and have been a great influence on me and countless others.
    I had the pleasure of attending the Heffernan/Auldridge workshop in Atlanta several years ago and I must say it was one of the best weekends of my life. It was so cool to hang out with you for a weekend. This award couldn’t have gone to a more deserving musician or a nicer guy. Here’s wishing you all the best in the days ahead!

  46. Daryl Davis says:

    Congratulations Mike! I remember when my wife and I first listened to your music on our front porch one evening in December in the summer of 1973. We loved it then and we love it now. Thank you for all your recorded output and the pleasure it has given us. By the way, that MA-6 you selected for me is a gem!

    Our best wishes to you Mike,

    Daryl and Donna in Australia

  47. Richard Chiasson says:

    I’m so thrilled that Mike is getting the recognition he so truly deserves. Mike, in my opinion, opened the door, to a newer, more modern style of dobro playing. Who knows where it will go from here?
    Richie Chiasson
    Salem, N.H.

  48. Don says:

    Congrats are in order, Mike.
    When I first saw you with Emerson and Waldron, I realized that there are no bounds for the Dobro. Thanks for all the years of incredible playing.
    Don, El Dobro

  49. Jennie L. Scott says:


    You have profoundly influenced my life and are singularly responsible for the direction of my musical involvement. I can’t thank you enough. I am so glad you are getting this award; no one is more deserving. I will never forget the first time I heard you play. I had never been to bluegrass concert before and went to see you with the Seldom Scene. I was so completely taken by your music I ultimately ended up buying a Dobro, joining the Boston Bluegrass Union, joining the IBMA and haven’t looked back. You are the best and I thank you. Your friend always,

  50. Thank you Maestro! My life has been better for hearing you play. Few deserve this as much and nobody deserves it more.

    Dave Van Allen


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webcast of the fellowships concert

The National Heritage Fellowships Concert, including a performance by Mike Auldridge, was webcast from Lisner Auditorium in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 4. An archive video of the performance is available at
Click the Photos link above to see recently added photographs from the NEA National Heritage celebration events.

Mike Auldridge has been named one of nine 2012 recipients of the National Endowment for the Arts' National Heritage Fellowships – the nation's highest honor in the folk and traditional arts.

The Washington Post called Auldridge "one of maybe a handful of truly innovative Dobro players in the history of country and bluegrass music." Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that Mike Auldridge forever changed the sound of the dobro. There is the dobro before Mike, and there is the dobro after Mike, and the dividing line is unmistakeable. His influence is evident in the playing of every dobro player who has followed him, and his role as the key inspiration for the generation of dobro masters who followed him is an important element of his musical legacy.

This website celebrates Mike's enduring achievements, and the award of this prestigious fellowship to him.

read the NEA bio of Mike Auldridge here


To contact this site's administrator, send an email to
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